#406 Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens)

15 April 2021

The smallest woodpecker in North America, common and widespread. In the east this is the most familiar member of the family, readily entering towns and city parks, coming to backyard bird feeders. Its small size makes it versatile, and it may forage on weed stalks as well as in large trees. In winter it often joins roving mixed flocks of chickadees, nuthatches, and other birds in the woods. Can forage not only on trunks and major limbs of trees but also on minor branches and twigs (often climbing about acrobatically and hanging upside down), as well as on shrubs and weed stalks. Male and female forage differently at times, but this varies with place and season. Feeding on trees, does more tapping and excavating in winter, more gleaning from surface in summer.

The photo is a male – the female does not have the red patch on its head.

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