HAIRY WOODPECKER (Dryobates villosus)
The hairy woodpecker is almost a copy of the downy woodpecker, only ‘enlarged’ about not quite 1.5 time. The male has the same two red patches at the back of the head, but those are more apart for the hairy woodpecker. It also has more ‘hair’ at the base of the bill, which is why it is called ‘hairy’ rather than ‘downy’. But the main difference between the two species, which is helpful for identification, is the length of the bill, which is longer in the hairy woodpecker relative to its body size than in the downy woodpecker.
Both sexes are similar, and their habitat and nesting habits are similar to that of the downy woodpecker. They also are good drummers for the same reasons as their smaller ‘cousins’, i.e. to claim territory and attract mates. For some more information on drumming please click here.
This male Hairy woodpecker below seems to have found a good spot for its drumming sessions. Hairy woodpeckers have similar feeding habits as downy woodpeckers, including visiting feeders as seen below. They are also permanent residents in PEI.