Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Downy Woodpecker

 Downy Woodpecker
The downy woodpecker is the smallest woodpecker that is native to north America. They are found through out most of the United States, except for the arid regions of the southwest, and the southern half of Canada and Alaska.They look similar to the larger hairy woodpecker which is also common with in most of the same range. When comparing the two species side by side the hairy is noticeably larger. However when trying to identify a lone bird look for black spots on the white tail feathers. If there are black spots then it is a downy, it is easier to see an example of this on the lower picture. If you can not see the tail then look at the beak. If the beak is shorter then the width of the birds head then it is a downy. If the beak is about the same side as the head then the bird is probably a hairy.
Downy Woodpecker
Like most woodpeckers the downy woodpecker does not migrate during the winter. Most insect eating birds must migrate for the winter to an area where they can still find insects to eat. Woodpeckers use their specially designed beak to forage inside of trees where they can still find insects and insect larva during the winter. Because of their small size downy woodpeckers often are able to forage where larger woodpeckers can not, like thin branches and weed stems. Males usually take these prize locations first. It is easy to tell the difference between males and females because males have a red band at the back of their head, see top photo, where the females do not, see bottom pic.


14 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

downy - nice adjective!

Karen said...

Terrific shots!

Liz said...

Gorgeous birds. Have a fabulous week!

Liz (mlc)
Liz (yacb)

Findlay Wilde said...

I really enjoyed your woodpecker pictures. From Findlay

Leslie: said...

Its head looks so fluffy in the first photo.

Leslie
abcw team

HansHB said...

Great shots, well done!

mick said...

Beautiful photo with the woodpecker on the tree trunk against that blue sky.

richies said...

I have a pair of downy's that come every day to my suet feeder. They are my favorite visitors.
An Arkies Musings

Helen said...

I just love those Downys. There is a couple that stay around here and eat the suet.

Andrea said...

The Downy's are so cute. I have both Downy and Hairy woodpeckers at my feeders all winter ... they especially like the suet. Very nice pictures of both the male and female.

Andrea @ From The Sol

Stewart M said...

Both of these small woodpeckers look like the Lesser Spotted from Europe.

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW

Stewart M - Melbourne

Mary Howell Cromer said...

I am glad that you shared the difference in these two species. We have both as well and for the most part we have these adorable Downy, and an occassional Hairy. Even though, I have photographed them for a while, I do get confused when in a pinch for the big decision on what my label will read;')~

Pat said...

Excellent captures of these gorgeous little birds.

Neil said...

Beautiful looking Woodpecker.