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September 20, 2021

Return of Bird of the Week: Downy Woodpecker

Male Downy Woodpecker, McCall, Idaho

Common, very widely distributed and tolerant of humankind, the Downy Woodpecker is easily attracted to a suet feeder. Its range extends across North America, from the Seward Peninsula in Alaska to southern Florida, and from southern California to Labrador. A smaller version of the Hairy Woodpecker, it’s interesting because the male and female generally forage on different parts of a tree or shrub. The male usually probe smaller branches; the female on larger branches and the trunk. There are seven subspecies. The female above is medianus, found across the boreal forest; the male is leucurus, fond in the Rocy Mountains…

Bird of the Week – Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker Male, Fairbanks

Continuing with woodpeckers, this is Alaska’s smallest woodpecker, and probably the most common year round. In many ways, the Downy is a smaller version of the Hairy, with similar patterning. But the Downy is much smaller, and has a proportionately smaller bill. The male has the red barring on the back of his head shown here. The female does not. Interior Alaska, where these birds were photographed, is near the northerly limits for this species, but the range of Downys is huge. In fact, they are found in all 49 continental states and all of the Canadian provinces. Like Hairy…