About the Birds: Both members of the woodpecker family, the Northern Flicker and Red-headed Woodpecker share a love of insects, which they forage by plucking from the ground, climbing tree trunks and limbs, and catching from mid-air. The Northern Flicker flashes bright colors under its brown wings and tail when it flies, while the Red-headed Woodpecker wears them openly, its bright red head contrasting its black-and-white wings and body.
The Northern Flicker, which is widespread throughout the country, stands to disappear from its summer breeding range in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, and from states as far west as Texas north to Nebraska, if temperatures rise by 3 degrees Celsius. Climate models for the Red-headed Woodpecker, already in decline, paint an even more sobering picture: 94 percent of its breeding range, spanning the Eastern half of the United States, may become inhospitable to it. The losses for both birds would be more than halved if warming is capped at 1.5 degrees.
About the Artist: Kirza Lopez is a self-taught artist from Puerto Rico. Growing up, Lopez created art as a hobby. She graduated from Valencia College with a degree in radiography and worked in the healthcare field until 2017, then transitioned to art full time as an artist assistant, helping paint large-scale murals across Florida and in cities around the world like New York City, Denver, and Copenhagen. Over the past couple of years, Lopez has refined her own artistic skills and ventured on a path of self-discovery, which translates into her art. In her work, she explores the concepts of human connection, self-healing through the act of painting, and how balance and life are interrelated.
“I decided to paint the Red-headed Woodpecker and the Northern Flicker since, through them, I was reminded how amazing it is that they are original creations of nature," Lopez says of her Audubon Mural Project contribution. "I was humbled by the designs of the birds and how perfect the colors looked all together." Although Lopez is not typically a figurative artist, she opted to paint the birds in their original physical form because, she says, "that is what would go missing if we don't take care of them." She also hopes that her paintings will create a lasting impression for viewers: "Maybe one day they will get to see the bird in real life and enjoy them in all their glory.”