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Downy Woodpecker

Picoides pubescens


Now these two young Ladies were having about as much fun as I've seen woodpeckers have. They playfully chased each other around and foraged along Riffster's Slough at the Little Big Econ River. These are the smallest of the woodpeckers, common at feeders and the wild, and often one of the first challenges for new birders to distinguish between their slight larger relatives, the Hairy Woodpecker. The bills on these woodpeckers is much shorter than their heads, a key ID point. Also in the fourth picture we can see the outer white tail feathers spotted with a little black. Hairy Woodpeckers almost always have pure white outer tail feathers. They also have bills that are much longer and closer in length to their head size. A very agile and acrobatic bird, these little birds are downright fun. First impression is a checkered body, and boldy striped head. The male has a small red "cap".


Downy Woodpeckers love open woodlands, particularly among hardwood trees, and brushy or weedy edges. But they are also at home in gardens, orchards, parks, backyard feeders and like here, on the swampy wetland edges of the slow moving Econ River.


In winter Downy Woodpeckers often forage in mixed species flocks which means less time watching out for predators and more time finding food. In the winter ( as we see in this series of pictures ) the females and males forage in like sex groups, the females generally on the trunks and the males on the branches. and weed stems, and females feed on larger branches and trunks. productive spots. The tiny Downy Woodpecker weighs an ounce at most and eats foods that the bigger woodies can't get to. Downy Woodpeckers eat lots of insects. They also eat a lot of pest insects including corn earworms, tent caterpillars, bark beetles, and apple borers. A small part of their diet includes berries, acorns, and seeds. Downy Woodpeckers are regular visitors to my feeders as well, eating suet and sunflower seeds

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1 Comment

Lovely little woodpeckers. Thanks for sharing.

Spotted by

Florida, USA

Spotted on Feb 4, 2013
Submitted on Feb 4, 2013

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