Sunday, February 24, 2008

Downy or Hairy?


Just spotted at Our Little Acre:


Anyone know?

I tend to say female "Downy" because of its overall size (rather small compared to most woodpeckers I see around here) and its relatively short beak. But I'm not an experienced birder.

10 comments:

Dave said...

My guess would be downy. We have a couple of them who like our suet feeders. I looked them up in a bird book and the closest I could find was downy. I could be wrong though. It's happened before!

Crafty Gardener said...

Downeys are a bit smaller and have the smaller beak and that is what yours looks like. The male has the red patch on the back of its head.

Meems said...

Hi Kylee: How ironic! I just posted a video on my blog of a Downy pecking away in my holly tree. I'm not expert either but I am fairly certain yours is also a Downy. While they have similar features the Hairy is noticeably longer @ 8-9.5". Those Downys are cute little guys aren't they?

Frances said...

Hi Kylee, My Peterson guide says the downy has the stripe on the back, the hairy does not, and the hairy is larger. It looks like a stripe in the middle, and you are right, no red on the neck is the female. I am no expert for sure, but the stripe is how to tell, it seems.

Frances at Faire Garden

Robin's Nesting Place said...

It is a downy for the reasons you mentioned- short beak and smaller. I have a male and female that regularly visit here.

Shady Gardener said...

I believe you're right with the downy identification. You'd know the difference if you could compare it to a hairy woodpecker. :-)

Aren't they cute? If you had a suet feeder, they'd be very happy!

Kylee said...

Dave ~ I think Downy, too. I supposed it doesn't matter a whole lot, since both are common here, but I do always like to know, if possible!

Crafty Gardener ~ I posted awhile back about a Downy, but it was the male. Somehow, it was easier for me to identify that one. I have seen the larger Hairy before, too.

Meems ~ So we were both stalking the Downy today!

Frances ~ I usually go to Cornell's site to get the most thorough information and based on what they said, I guessed at Downy, based on size and the shorter beak. According to them, they both have a black stripe on the head and a white back. Plus, the Hairy Woodpecker has 17 subspecies! It can be so difficult to identify species that look so similar, can't it? Thanks for your help, too!

Robin ~ I knew you would know! :-)

Kylee said...

Shady Gardener ~ I have seen the Hairy here, but not as often and it's been awhile. We do have suet. You can see it in my earlier post from today with the starling on it. I haven't seen the woodpeckers on it yet. It hasn't been up very long. We've got two of them actually, about five feet apart.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I concur with the Downy id. When you get a Hairy you will think Downy on steroids. The bill looks almost as long as the head and is wider at the base. It doesn't sound like much of a distinction but when you see it you will go "oh yes, I see".

Entangled said...

Me too - it's a Downy. Another field mark I don't think anybody mentioned is the small black spots on the white tail feathers of the downy. They're not always easy to see, but it looks like yours has them. Hairy doesn't.

The GBBC site has a page comparing the two.

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