There's a certain fascination with woodpeckers. Perhaps it goes back to the
cartoon "Woody Woodpecker". Woody was a fun and loving character.
Bird watchers seek to attract woodpeckers to their yard. Among the most common
is the Downy Woodpecker. He (or she) can be seen year round, attracted by
a suet feeder.
The Downy Woodpecker, and his closely related cousin the Hairy Woodpecker,
are native, year round residents of the Continental US, Canada and Alaska.
Identifying the Downy Woodpecker
Downy Woodpeckers are six inches long, about the size of a sparrow. They
are the smallest species of woodpeckers. They are aerobic fliers in search
of food, and have a rising and falling motion as they fly. In the spring
and summer, they are noisy birds, with a shrill, whining call.
The male has a patch or red on his head. The female does not have this red
patch. She has a white patch in the middle of her back.
It's easy to confuse the Downy Woodpecker, with the Hairy Woodpecker, as
they are nearly identical. The easiest way to distinguish them is the Hairy
Woodpecker is larger, and has a much longer beak.
Downy Woodpecker Habitat and Diet:
These birds are at home in open woodlands, preferring deciduous trees. They
can be found at the edges of the woods, among brush and weeds.
They are at home in parks as well as your backyard. To attract them, place
suet a couple places in your yard, where they can be observed.
The Downy Woodpecker's diet is about 3/4 insects. They also eat fruit, seeds,
and sap. They are attracted to suet with seeds or fruit in it.