Saturday, March 26, 2011

Little Downy

It's been a busy week for me. Just for an update, I've had three visits to doctors within a week. It's nothing new. Just stuff from my car accident. To anybody who might see me, I look fine, but I'm still very far from okay. I'm getting better, but I'm not there yet.

Anyway, let's get on with my post. Above is a not very good picture of a Downy Woodpecker. I mentioned these little guys a few posts ago when I introduced a very similar bird, the Hairy Woodpecker.

The main difference between these two is their size. The downy woodpecker that we have here today is much smaller than the hairy woodpecker. If you see them side by side you might think one is a baby. The great thing is that I have them both here in the same forest.

This one above is an example of a Hairy Woodpecker.Take a look at his neck. It is longer than the smaller downy. He just looks bigger, doesn't he? And now you can compare their beaks in my pictures. The hairy has a much longer beak, about as long as his head. The downy's is comparably very short. Otherwise, they are almost identical.

And now back to the downy woodpecker. I've been hearing the tapping of these little guys for several weeks now. It could have also been the other guys, but it also could have been both. How's that? So I've been watching for woodpeckers for quite some time now.

As soon as I heard the knocking on this tree I began searching for him. This time I was lucky enough to see him up there. And yes, this one is a male bird. The red on the back of his head marks him as a male. The next picture shows that red very clearly for you. It's another one that isn't so good, but these birds are hard to get sometimes.

There's that little redhead. You may notice that the color in this shot is much better. That's because I was standing on the opposite side of the tree from where I started. The Sun helped me out a bt this time. The only problem was that this bird was very high up in this tree.

Soon after I took this picture the little bird flew away into the forest. I soon heard his loud tapping again, even though he was too far away now. Woodpeckers can make a pretty loud sound for such small birds. The first time I ever heard their tapping, I thought they must be huge.

I'll be back once again with another tale from the guy in the rat suit. Wouldn't you be really creeped out if you found out that I really do roam the forest in a white rat suit? You'll never know until you meet me out there.

Nature Center Magazine - Your starting place for nature! Mine too.


  1. Your photos are great in showing the difference in size of these two look alike birds. Many birders are confused by them unless they seen side by side. Great informative post!

    It would be startling to happen upon you on in the woods in a white rat suit.:-D)
    Glad to hear you are improving!

  2. Well, I wish your recovery would be faster, but I'm pleased that at least it's going in the right direction. Don't know if you were employed, retired, what, but this has to have affected your ability to work.

    Nice comparison of the little woodpeckers.

  3. When I 1st looked them up in the book the comparitive didn't say anything about size. It is striking to see that difference when you finally see both.I put out a lot of suet feeders to bring them in.

  4. We have a pair of downy woodpeckers in the yard and I posted about them last week. Seems the male was pecking away at our utility pole in the yard and both cats nearly wet their pants watching him! It was very exciting for them because he was making so much racket.

    Hope you are making progress, RAtty. Wow. You sure took a beating, didn't you?

  5. @Jean
    I did that partly because my down pictures aren't very good, but then I realized again that these birds do confuse many people.

    I don't think I'd stick around after seeing a white rat suit roaming the forest. :D

    Yup, it had an effect. I wish it didn't. Taking care of that has been taking up just as much time as doctor visits recently.

    @Out on the prairie
    They look so similar that it's hard to see the size difference at first. But then when you know there's a difference, you notice that it's striking. The hairy woodpeckers are about twice as big as the downies. I'm lucky enough to see them often enough to catch it.

    I'll have to look for your post. I've been missing a lot of good stuff for awhile now.

    Yeah, I originally hoped I'd be just fine by now, but I'm still only part way. I guess that'll teach me to sit at a stop light minding my own business. :D

  6. During breeding season downy woodpeckers get on an old TV antenna that we have on our roof and tap, tap, tappity, tap away, sometimes for hours on end looking for a mate. Then we installed a metal roof. Yikes! They are really noisy sons of guns.

  7. Those are excellent comparison photos and descriptions. For a long time I thought that we had only the Hairy woodpeckers here, but now I know that we have both. I have never seen the two types together though.

  8. I always hear tapping sound in the jungle, just that the woodpeckers hide themselves too well within the dense leaves.

  9. I enjoy getting to see these woodpeckers - I don't think we get either one of them in southern California.

  10. The pictures are great Ratty! I can see the different sizes in these photos, and they are very pretty looking birds too.

  11. Nice shots of them and thanks for the differential education on them, that helps alot!

  12. despite not 100% yet, am glad to know you continue to seek therapy in the joys of outdoors, the woodpeckers are beautiful birds, i love watching them here in san diego too as they get very busy burying acorns on pine trunks, though our woodpecker here looks a lot different.

  13. The Downy has always been my favorite, probably because it is so small and cute. Unfortunately I don't see them where we are living now.

    Keep working on getting better Ratty, you've come a long way since the accident.

  14. Lovely to see the life coming back to the forest...pity the trees aren't green yet...but then again it is easier to capture the birds in the trees without the foliage!!