Birding Thursday: Downy Woodpecker

Our bird of the week  is the downy woodpecker. They are so cute! They frequent my suet feeder, as the photos below attest. I seem to have caught images of just the female downy, which is too bad, because it doesn’t provide a comparison to the male (who, as is typical of the bird world, is a bit more colorful). The male has a red spot on the nape of his head, which this gal lacks.

Be that as it shouldn’t be, here’s a female downy, on two different days in May, enjoying herself some suet:

Front  view of downy woodpecker partially obscured by a square-shaped green wire suet feeder, which she is holding on to vertically, with her head near the top and her tail pointing at the bottom.. She is about 6 inches long, with a white belly, and a black and white striped head. You can just see the base of her long black bill. The rest is hidden in the suet.

Front view, enjoying a nice big brick of suet.

You’ll notice in the photo below, about three-quarters of the suet is gone. No, she didn’t eat all of that. The squirrels eat most of the suet (it has seeds in it, too), which is fine with me, because so far it has kept them from feeling the need to jump into the window feeder and devour all the sunflower seed.

The back of a female downy woodpecker, eating from a wire mesh suet feeder. Her back is white, which is mostly obscured by her long wings, which are blck with white bars, creating a sort of ladder-like effect. Her tail is long and black on the back and white underneath.

The downys seem less flighty and nervous than most other woodpeckers, so I am usually able to get some decent pictures.

-Sharon, the muse of Gadget (who cares about birds?), and Barnum, SDiT (I still enjoy The Bird Channel)

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1 Response to “Birding Thursday: Downy Woodpecker”


  1. 1 patti brehler June 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Beautiful! Those woodpeckers are my favs. I watched a female hairy woodpecker check out our birdhouses this morning, before the rain really hit!


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