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Photo Submission

Submitted By

Mike Bons

Stirling, ON, Canada


A male hairy woodpecker perching on a branch just before he comes into the suet feeder.

Male Hairy Woodpecker

Male Hairy Woodpecker

27 replies on “Male Hairy Woodpecker”

Marie Barry says:

In New England, he key is the bill: if it’s the size of the rest of the head, it’s a Hairy; if it’s smaller, it’s a Downy

George Morrison says:

Your fuzzy notes gave that one away. How sneaky.

John Six says:

What a beautiful bird. I have a similar looking one that feeds in my backyard but is known as a downy woodpecker. I believe the black and white shelving goes all the way down their back from the nape. The red spot looks the same.

kathy says:

No it is a Hairy wood pecker the downy looks very close but there are some differences as noted.

Kevin Hoover says:

They visit us every day !

bob says:

Got it.. I have a few along with the Downey, redheaded and pileated at my cedar pole for woodpeckers. My birds are fed year long black oil sunflower seeds.

bob says:

Got it.. I have a few along with the Downey, redheaded and pileated at my cedar pole for woodpeckers. My birds are fed year long black oil sunflower seeds and suet for the peckers

Pat Wilson-Perkins says:

We get a pair 1 male hairy & 1 male downy that are wingmen to our red bellied woodpecker

Betty Frezon says:

I have the Hairy woodpeckers at my suet and feeders. She is also pretty.

Sue Sturges says:

We live in Ames, Iowa. This fellow is with us year round.

This is one of the many kinds of woodpeckers we see on our feeders. They are beautiful.

Tom Loomis says:

NOT very informative or helpful…. what are the defining identification marks???. We have faced the hairy/downy decision at our feeders for years and have decided that the giz of the bird is the best ident factor. The downy tends to be much calmer and ‘laid-back’ than the hairy. Bill size is hard to judge ( especially when covered with suet) The defining body markings are sometimes helpful. We find that comparison with the size of the suet feeder can also be helpful.

Connie Bienia says:

I live in Hillsburgh, Ontario between Guelph & Orangeville & wondered why I didn’t see any White Breasted Nuthatch last year? I have seen a few this year but not as many as normal.

Nancy Schmitt says:

I have seen a Hairy Woodpecker at my suet feeder 4 times this year. Never had one at one of my feeders before this year.

Maureen Pardy says:

I am delighted that we have a family of Hairy woodpeckers that frequent our bird feeder. They are so tolerant of the smaller birds, chickadees, goldfinches and juncos who congregate.They are quite comical tossing out the sunflower seeds until they find one they want, However, when the blue jays arrive they become very territorial and shoo them away. This always surprises me. It is only in the last few years that they have come to the feeder. They first started coming when I put out the fat balls, although we heard them around the property. Now they come to both.

Dr R Rajagopal says:

How does it differ from the downy woodpecker?

Suz says:

Downy is slightly smaller (but hard to tell if they are not there at the same time). How I tell is that the downy’s beak/bill is more stunted while the hairy’s is longer and more like a little sword.

Mike Charron says:

What a clown the Bird at my feeder is!! He thinks that if he hides behind the support post that I can’t see him!! He peeks out,then hides!! LOL!!

Eric Hathaway says:

It is often helpful to say that a Hairy woodpecker is the size of (another bird that you know) while the Downy woodpecker is smaller.

Also the size of the beak of a Hairy woodpecker is relatively larger (compared to the head length) than the Downy’s.

Sometimes Hairy woodpecker males have a yellow, rather than a red, patch on the back of their heads. (This always comes as a big surprise.)

joseph conrad says:

My bad! I thought it was a Downy ‘pecker.

Lee DiPaola says:

My bird book has been sitting next to the window by my bird feeder – open to the page showing downy woodpecker and hairy woodpecker!!! I have been trying to assess the beak size, body size, have tried to count the stripes on the feathers – then decided that still wasn’t helping me to differentiate and I just cracked up when I saw this little quiz. I think that I would honestly have to have each bird – downy and hairy- side by side – so that I could differentiate by their sizes. Thanks for giving me a little chuckle!

Joy Richardson says:

I tend to see more downy woodpeckers at my bird feeder here in Western PA. The hairy woodpeckers do come on occasion, but not as frequently as the downy.

Becky Carstens says:

These two woodpeckers were my nemesis when taking ornithology at MSU back in the 60’s. I have finally learned to really look at the beak! I guessed right this time!

Wima Galloway says:

This one, a male hairy woodpecker, was at my suet feeder.
His tail feathers were very white. It is the first one that I have ever seen . Mainly I see dark-eyed juncos. blue jays, mourning doves, and red squirrels among the ground-feeders and chickadees and nut hatches at the hanging feeders. Bluejays watch for me to put unshelled peanuts in the open feeders and announce that I have done so. I really enjoy watching them all from my kitchen window!

Meryl says:

Hurray – I got one right ( :>

Joyce Rendahl says:

Got it right! 🙂 The long beak was the give away.

Jose says:

Other differences between Hairy and Downy :
– the outer tail white feathers of the Downy Woodpecker have black spots
– the red spot of the Hairy is split in two (but you can’t use this hint in this photo)

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