On winter mornings, I often venture outside to photograph the assembly of birds that visit the feeders in my front yard. One of the regular visitors is the diminutive downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens), which clings to my peanut feeder, takes a nibble of suet, or forages in the nearby maple trees. Fairly comfortable with a human presence, these birds feature heavily in my photos.
Measuring only six inches in length and weighing less than an ounce, downy woodpeckers are the smallest of North America’s 22 native woodpecker species. They are often confused with the similar-looking hairy woodpecker. Downies are smaller than hairy woodpeckers, however, and rather than the hairy’s spike-like bill, downies sport a smaller, less conspicuous bill. Males possess a red spot on the back of the head, and both sexes have a general black and white appearance. [Read more…] about Downy Woodpeckers in Winter