Downy Woodpecker

Scientific Name: Picoides pubescens

How to attract: Downy Woodpeckers are one of the three most common woodpeckers to visit yards and bird feeders. They can be attracted by black oil sunflower seed feeders and suet feeders, and  sometimes Downy Woodpeckers will even drink hummingbird nectar from hummingbird feeders.

Diet: These woodpeckers mainly eat insects such as beetle larvae, ants, and caterpillars. Downy Woodpeckers also eat pests, like tent caterpillars, apple borers, corn earworm, and bark beetles.

Habitat: Downy Woodpeckers live in open woodlands. They especially like deciduous forests, and also can be found in orchards, parks, and suburbs. Don’t be surprised if you see one in your backyard, because Downy Woodpeckers don’t mind living around people.

Range: Downy Woodpeckers can be found in all of Washington and across most of the U.S. and Canada year round.

Nesting:Nesting occurs from April to June. Downy Woodpeckers lay 4 or 5 completely white eggs in a cavity excavated by the male and female. The excavation is 6 to 12 inches deep, and lined only with wood chips. The eggs are incubated for about 12 days. Downy Woodpeckers place their nests in dead trees or branches, and the tree they pick is usually deciduous.

Description/field marks:Downy Woodpeckers are pretty much all black and white. Downy Woodpeckers have white bellies and black wings with white speckles on them. On the back in between the wings there is a line of white. Male Downy Woodpeckers have red patches on the backs of their heads, but females do not. Hairy Woodpeckers look almost the same, but if you look closely it isn’t too hard to tell the Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers apart. Hairy Woodpeckers have longer bills than Downys do, and on the white outer tail feathers of a Downy Woodpecker there are two small black line markings which the Hairy Woodpecker lacks.

adult male downy woodpecker

Adult Male Downy Woodpecker

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