Sunday, February 05, 2006

hairy woodpecker


This handsome cousin of the smaller downy woodpecker is another regular visitor to my feeder. They are nearly identical in markings, but they can be told apart by size and the proportionally larger bill of the hairy. As I was trying to photograph this one, I also noticed that hairys tend to be more skittish than downys; I could not get close to the window while he was at the feeder. I have noticed occasionally at the sunflower seed feeder, the hairy woodpecker will put its bill into the seeds and sweep from side to side, scattering seeds everywhere, without appearing to take any sunflower seeds. Maybe it is looking for something else among the seeds? I don't know.

5 comments:

Rexroth's Daughter said...

The Hairy and Downy do look alike, don't they? I think we had a Hairy here a while back. It didn't come to our feeder, but was in the plum tree. Can you imagine what it must be like to see the larger Pileated Woodpeckers with a 29 inch wingspan? Stunning.

Floridacracker said...

Nice shot. They do look alike. I think I would need them to alight side by side...

Deb said...

RD- I do see Pileateds fairly often, although not at my feeder (too small for them). A couple of years ago there was one that we thought would kill a large balsam fir, it was pecking at the roots every day. Mostly I see them when they are flying; they have a very distinctive, dipping flight pattern. I'm sure Floridacracker sees them often too.

FC- The downy is about 6 inches, and the hairy is 8 or 9 inches. Once you've seen them, you would know. I remember when I was 8 or 9 years old, I wrote and illustrated a guide to telling the two woodpeckers apart. I was into birds at an early age!

This is the male; later today I saw the female at the feeder, sweeping seeds onto the ground right and left. I think she may have taken a few of them into her mouth; maybe they cache them somewhere? She struck a very beautiful pose, sitting horizontally with bill outstretched; it would have been a striking photo.

Endment said...

Wonderful photo!
We have a pair here as well as some downy, red-bellied and pileated. The pileated comes to a large stump just a short ways from the feeders.

Thanks so much for sharing this photo.

Sylvia said...

Picky eaters drive me nuts! ;)