Canon 75-300 at 280mm
f5.6 at 1/200 second
Birders, ornithologists, avian biologists, naturalists, and nature photographers all know: pay attention to the bird calls, because they can tell you what's going on. I admit to not recognizing the frequent faint "wheeta wheeta" sounds that I was hearing from the trees near my deck, but they were sufficient to make me interrupt my phone conversation and get out the camera to go stalking. The Girlfriend understood.
The plumage ("byoo'iful plumage!") appears adult, but the behavior of these yellow-shafted northern flickers (Colaptes auratus) indicated juveniles. Newly-fledged youngsters will still beg food from the adults for a short while after leaving the nest, often with displays of short wing flaps, craned necks, and wheezing calls, which is largely what I was watching – yet this was in October, much later than I would expect to see fledglings. There also seemed to be some dominance behavior indicated by position and raised crest feathers, but this also wasn't breeding season and the actions were far less aggressive than typical of competing males. What all of this means is that I'm not really sure, but I shot a long sequence of images anyway. And yes, I credit a certain amount of luck for the break in the trees, the splashes of late afternoon sunlight, and their willingness to ignore me 6 meters (20 feet) below them.