poetry and prose about place

at the bird feeder #5 – Hairy Woodpecker

with 3 comments

Our Hairy Woodpecker was back today.  She was determined to get to the feeder, so we got a very good look at her in all her black and white splendor. 

This time the identification was not a problem.  This woodpecker is a noticably large bird, compared to the smaller Downy Woodpeckers we have seen at the feeder before.  Also, the outer tail feathers are white, not marked in black as they are with the Downy Woodpecker.

I like to compare illustrations in the various bird books.  Have a look at these two sets of Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, both drawn by Roger Tory Peterson, first in his ‘A Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies’ (1980)…

Roger Tory Peterson, 1980, 'A Field Guide to the Birds East of the Rockies', Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

… and second, from his illustration in ‘The Birds of Nova Scotia’ by Robie W. Tufts (1973).  In the ‘Field Guide’ , the markings on the white tail feathers of the Downy Woodpecker are clearer.

Robie W. Tufts, 'The Birds of Nova Scotia', 1973, Nova Scotia Museum, Halifax. Color illustrations in this book are by Roger Tory Peterson.

Both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are cavity nesters.  They stay through the winter and are frequent visitors at feeding stations… they love suet and black sunflower seeds.

Written by jane tims

January 20, 2012 at 9:18 am

3 Responses

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  1. These two birds are enjoyable to watch- my quick rule of thumb is to see if the beak is definitely shorter than the bird’s head- if it is, it’s a Downy. The Peterson guide is a fine one!


    Watching Seasons

    January 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm

  2. Reblogged this on HELL-O ♥.



    January 20, 2012 at 9:32 am

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