Hairy or Downy Woodpecker

As you know – Bird Identification has become a new hobby obsession Passion for me these past few months. You didn’t know me when I went through my Tree Phase  – and just for a heads up – I’m thinking of going through a Plant Phase. . . . .  For now, it is Birds.

Meet the Woodpecker.

This little fella was in our tree back in March– I had to zoom so far in that the photo was fuzzy. I thought it was a woodpecker – but I had no idea what type.  After sending the information to our local Birding Experts – I learned that the bill was small – which would make it a Downy Woodpecker. (Red on top, commas on neck, white on tail feathers, white on breast)


This morning I spent about 45 minutes in the rain being eaten by no see ums trying to get a shot at an incredibly fast woodpecker going back and forth to the nest.  My neighbor found the nest when putting up fence for her orchard and texted me right away. I assumed it was a downy, based on visual observations this week – but this morning I finally got the shot to tell that I was wrong.

See there?  Bill is as long, or longer, than the neck to the tip of the head. Go ahead. Scroll back up and see how tiny Mr. Downy’s bill looks. 


So – Meet Mr. Hairy Woodpecker!


I have about 55 shots from this morning – but thought these worked the best for ID.  Also – on the outer tail – I read this morning that the Hairy Woodpecker would have more of a solid white tail feather, whereas the downy may have more spots or streaks.


My neighbor taught us that their home in the nest may go down as much as a foot or more, in the size of an enlarged test tube type shape. They make a tunnel down the tree. She had to have a power pole replaced because of these nesting wood peckers. This nest is about 20 feet up in a dead Red Alder tree.

Website for a Visual and Descriptive Comparison is HERE.

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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3 Responses to Hairy or Downy Woodpecker

  1. Pingback: Nature Sketches– Hairy Woodpecker | Petra School

  2. Excellent work! I love woodpeckers and have tried to lure them to our yard…unfortunately they decided to peck on the side of our house. Now I have hung some feeders for them and they stay away from our trim.

    Woodpeckers are amazing creatures… we have a Nutall’s woodpecker here that has the most gorgeous checkerboard back you have ever seen.

    Love seeing your birds.

  3. julie coney says:

    that is soo cool! their nest entrance hole is so amazing. i can imagine it inside the tree all neatly honed out…

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