"A Sand County Almanac"

"THERE ARE SOME WHO CAN LIVE WITHOUT WILD THINGS AND SOME WHO CANNOT."
"FOR US IN THE MINORITY THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEE GEESE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN TELEVISION.".....Aldo Leopold




"LOOK DEEP INTO NATURE, AND THEN YOU WILL UNDERSTAND EVERYTHING BETTER".....Albert Einstein


Friday, March 21, 2014

The Littlest Woodpecker In North America

Downy Woodpeckers are common from coast to coast, and they are the smallest woodpeckers in North America.  Their distinctive black and white coloration makes them easy to identify. The following photograph is of a female downy...


Males have red "patches" on the back of their heads...

 
 

They mainly eat insects, seeds and berries and can often be seen searching for them in the leaves on the forest floor or under the bark of trees.  They also are common visitors to suet blocks provided by bird enthusiasts...


Many folks, including myself, sometimes have difficulty determining the difference between the Downy and the Hairy woodpecker.  As a general rule, Hairy woodpeckers are larger with longer, stouter beaks than the Downy.  Also, the Downies have black spots along the edges of the white outer tail feathers.  For the sake of comparison the next photo is a Downy, with the typical short bill characteristic of the species...


The following photo is of a Hairy Woodpecker, showing the longer bill, and, as I recently learned, a black comma shaped mark just above the shoulder...



Attention to small details is important when trying to identify birds, and is a large part of what makes the activity rewarding and enjoyable.

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