The northern flicker doesn’t have “woodpecker” in its name, but it is one. And what a distinctive one! Although the black-and-white stripes on its tail are reminiscent of other woodpeckers’ black-and-white checks, it’s polka-dotted breast is what makes it stand out among birds. Quite fashion-forward.
This beautiful bird is the white-naped crane (Antigone vipio), an Asian crane that breeds in northern Mongolia, northeastern China, and neighboring parts of Russia. The eastern members of the species winter in Japan and Korea, including the Korean demilitarized zone. Japan and Korea play important roles in my family history, so maybe that’s why this particular pair of cranes were so cooperative in letting me take their pictures.