Two woodpeckers


Woodpeckers are not particularly common around here. Of a half-dozen or so species, only the Northern Flicker is likely to be seen regularly. Below are two species, seen five weeks apart: a Pileated Woodpecker (seen in late December), a Downy Woodpecker (seen in late January).

These two birds differ greatly in size. The Pileated, our largest woodpecker, is a dozen times heavier than the Downy, our smallest. And although both species eat insects and their grubs, the difference in their sizes gives each one access to resources the other cannot reach.

Weighing 250 – 350 g, the Pileated Woodpecker is nearly as large as a crow. Its weight restricts it to hunting on the sturdier trunks of trees, but its long bill allows it to probe deeply into that trunk.

Weighing 21 – 28 g, the Downy Woodpecker is light enough to scour insects from twigs, from which it is sometimes seen hanging.

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2 Responses to Two woodpeckers

  1. Margo Saunders says:

    Outside my kitchen window in the last three days, I have seen the pileated and the flicker…what a joy!

  2. Karen Pidcock says:

    I enjoy visits from both these lovely woodpeckers, as well as the Northern Flicker in my neighbourhood surrounded by forest!

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