DOWNY WOODPECKER

DOWNY WOODPECKER (Picoides pubescens)

The downy woodpecker is the smallest of its family in North America and a year-long resident in PEi. Both sexes are similar except for two small red spots on the back of the head for the male, which are clearly visible below. Downy woodpeckers are acrobatic birds, moving rapidly up and down, sideways and even under branches. In order to provide them maximum efficiency when foraging for food onto the wood of trees, woodpeckers’ heads are aligned at a 90 degree angle with their body, just like a hammer shape. Their brains are also protected from the impacts with a thicker skull.

Their bill is usually long except for this downy woodpecker, and very hard to allow the work called upon it. The downy woodpecker is a regular visitor of bird feeders, preferring beef suet over other offerings such as peanut butter mixes, but it will also eat seeds (black sunflower seeds for example).

Drumming: A behavior that is unique to the woodpeckers including this one, is their drumming on metal surfaces (preferably) for territorial and courtship purposes, and the louder the better. The drumming can then be heard from a good distance. Woodpeckers will not shy away from drumming on buildings, on hollow metal parts, for example, that brings them a good loud sound. For more information on drumming, you can click here.

Downy woodpecker - Aug. 14, 2016 - by Matt Beardsley
Downy woodpecker – Aug. 14, 2016 – by Matt Beardsley
Male Downy Woodpecker with wings open on a trunk - Apr. 9, 2014 - © Wanda Bailey
Male Downy Woodpecker with wings open on a trunk – Apr. 9, 2014 – © Wanda Bailey

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