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Tuesday, 29 October 2019

Downy Woodpecker (Pic mineur)

     Downy Woodpecker (Dryobates pubescens) is a relatively tiny woodpecker, measuring only around 16 cm total length, and is our most common picid. It is resident and gives us pleasure throughout the seasons.
    The male is told by the small red bar on the back of the head.



     The female is basically identical, but lacks the red patch.



     In a strange twist a juvenile male has more extensive red on the head than does an adult male. Juvenile birds usually acquire colour, not lose it.



     Downy Woodpecker is a species that has fortunately adapted well to human intrusion and is not at all hesitant to occupy gardens, parks, golf courses and the like, and is a regular at bird feeders, where it takes both seed and animal fat. It is a rare day that I do not see a Downy Woodpecker in my backyard.




     Males and females may be seen at the same time in the winter, but there is no evidence that these birds are pairs.





     As the picture above reveals a Downy Woodpecker is in the forefront of those species taking advantage of the help provided by caring humans. It takes but minutes after providing seed for a bird to appear.
     Males excavate the nest hole, a lengthy process sometimes taking ten days or more, and both the male and female share incubation of the eggs and care of the young.
     Here is a male feeding young in the nest.



     In this case the young are still quite small and the adult bird has to reach in to deliver food. As fledging time gets closer the young noisily greet the parent returning with food and there is much jostling to secure a morsel or two.
     The young male below visited our backyard frequently and was fed by both parents. At this stage it was quite capable of securing its own food but did not hesitate to accept delivery from an attentive adult. Do human teenagers spring to mind?




     There is not a day when birds fail to provide joy in our lives. It is always instructive to observe them carefully and learn about their lifestyle, but it would be disingenuous to deny the sheer pleasure of sharing space with our avian friends.




     My previous post was about Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus), and Downy Woodpeckers often associate with chickadees, especially in the winter. If I look out the window and see one, it is often a safe bet that the other is not far behind.



     

     I think that over many years Miriam and I have witnessed every facet of Downy Woodpecker life, from courtship, to nesting, to display, to squabbling and agonistic posturing, to feeding young; I have even seen them become the prey of accipiters and falcons. 
     Every day in so many ways they enhance the quality of our lives. I hope that you have birds that do it for you too.

55 comments:

  1. what a lovely cute little woodpecker!!Soo nice to see :)))

    Also like your new header:)))

    Here at my place it is been a long time since i have seen any woodpeckers..Sometimes they come in a flock..stay here for some weeks and then wanish from the woods..very strange behavoviour

    I am glad you feed those little beautiful creatures in our nature

    Wish you a happy time:)))

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  2. Hello David,
    Beautiful photos! The Woodpeckers are very pretty. We have many birds here, and I kove to watch them from my kitchen window. My cat's love to wath them too. They sit in the window and their jaws makes funny noices :) I guess they want to catch them, but they are not allowed to do that. They live indoor and outdoor in a catyard with fences around them.

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  3. Hello, it is interesting to watch these Downy Woodpeckers and all their behaviors. I usually see a pair coming and going from my feeders. They are cute little woodpeckers. Wonderful photos and post. Enjoy your day!

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  4. Ils sont beaux! Ils ressemblent un peu au pic épeiche que j'ai au jardin.
    Bonne journée

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  5. Bardzo lubię te ptaki, ciekawy tekst i piękne fotografie.

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  6. I love these birds and often see them at my feeder (or probably would again if I could figure out how to keep the raccoon out of it.) They're very pretty and I guess I never thought about the chickadees and the Downy's being "hang out pals" but I have often seen them at the feeder around the same time. As always, yours and Miriam's photos are terrific and I have to say I really love the one of the older feeding the younger.

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  7. What a sweet little woodpecker! I have never seen such a small one. The one visiting here id a lot larger and not so fluffy. And always hungry, it hangs itself onto the fatballs and just devours them! Have a great day, Valerie

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  8. Always enjoy seeing the downy...these are great pics of some you have encountered. Have a good week.

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  9. Hello my friend David,
    what a crazy name for such a beautiful little woodpecker.
    As you know I love woodpeckers and this beautiful little woodpecker has stolen my heart :-)
    Beautiful to see, to be fed and also to view :-)
    I really enjoyed these beautiful pictures my friend.
    Dear greetings from me, Helma xx

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  10. These are super clear photos of such sweet little guys. Thanks for posting.

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  11. Hari OM
    I was so lucky to witness the Downy a few times on my trip over your way; definitely a garden delight missing in the UK! Not that we lack for characters, as you are aware. YAM xx

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  12. I have a male woodpecker that visits a feeder but he is not a downy. I admit that I don't usually see them on my farm.

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  13. Hi David, this is also a nice bird and a nice story. Nice to see/read that they're not to shy and that they visit the gardens and parks.

    Kind regards,
    Marianne

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  14. Birds most certainly enrich my life. Each and every day.
    I loved this post and am fascinated that the young males lose much of their red splash as they mature. I wonder whether that is true of any other species. Do you know of any?

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  15. Una serie estupenda amigo. Bien se distingue el rojo de su cabeza. Me encantan las foto del pequeño carpintero. Buenos padres alimentando a los bebés David.
    Te deseo una buena semana.
    Un abrazo.

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  16. They are beautiful and patient birds.

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  17. Hello David,
    He's very small but so cute. Her little head is really adorable.
    Yes, I agree with you, the birds bring us so much joy.
    Kisses from France.

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  18. Beautiful! Haven't seen a woodpecker since we left the Midwest and they were larger, less friendly.
    Your photos look they could be paintings!
    You are right about those teenagers! Mine used to empty our freezer after our shopping at CostCo. then they wanted more.

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  19. Precioso el reportaje David, la foto dando de comer el progenitor al joven es muy tierna, un momento de felicidad. Son muy bonitos esos pequeños carpinteros, tienes gran suerte el tenerlos tan cerca y poder observar su comportamiento y ayudarles en el invierno con algo de comida.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo David.

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  20. I love birds and adore seeing them in their natural habitat. Your photos are absolutely stunning and inspire me to want to improve my ability to take photos of our birds here.
    I have only seen one woodpecker in my life and that was when visiting my daughter in Arizona, but I do not know what type it was.
    Happy birding!

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  21. What a cutie the woodpecker is. Your new header is awesome, so nice to see the bird up close, he/she is so pretty.

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  22. Me encantan los pájaros carpinteros, por aquí se les oye haciendo sus nidos. Besitos.

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  23. En förtjusande liten fågel David! Jag önskar att vi hade samma rikedom av fåglar här, numera är det endast den större hackspetten Dendrocopus major som besöker matningen vintertid. Det finns fler arter i landet men de har blivit väldigt sällsynta, det moderna skogs- och jordbruket har inte gynnat hackspetten.

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  24. It must be a joy to have such a charismatic little bird visiting your feeders regularly. Our Great Spotted Woodpeckers come to feeders but often very early in the morning. The Lesser Spotted though is becoming scarce though I've never heard a convincing explanation of why that should be.

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  25. Hi David.

    Fantastic photos of these beautiful woodpeckers.

    Greeting from Patricia.

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  26. Wonderful Woodpecker images David.

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  27. Hola David.

    Siento una sana envidia al ver en tus fotos que tú y Miriam podéis disfrutar a diario del gran espectáculo que os brindan estos hermosos pájaros carpinteros, y más aún si se pueden contemplar hasta mientras desayunas con una cálida taza de café... Idílico.

    Un abrazo desde Arteixo, Galicia, España,

    Rafa.

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  28. ...David, such wonderful captures, your patience certainly paid off. Thank you so much visiting my blog, enjoy your day.

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  29. How fun to capture parent feeding baby, and right at your feeder. We have Red-Bellieds at our feeders a lot and they are so big they can hardly hang on and reach over their feet to get at the sunflower seeds.

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    Replies
    1. We get Red-bellied Woodpecker occasionally, Hairy Woodpecker a little more frequently, and Pileated Woodpecker once in a blue moon - in the trees, however, never at the feeders. We also get Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers in the spring.

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  30. Hi David,
    This is a cute kind of woodpecker. It never shows up in the Netherlands. Over here we have got 5 different types of woodpeckers. Three of them look a bit like the downy woodpecker. You present us here an easily readable narrative, combined with great pictures made by Miriam. The both of you form a good combination.
    Greetings, Kees

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  31. Our equivalent the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker is now so rare that it has become a bird to twitch. You are fortunate indeed to be able to see the Downy Woodpecker on most days. A good set of photos you both.

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    Replies
    1. In Britain I have seen Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, never Middle-spotted or Lesser-spotted - and I strongly suspect I never will!

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  32. here in germany are also many woodpeckers, unfortunately not in front of my camera ... ;-))
    Thank you for showing me
    greet Frank

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  33. Thank you for a delightful account of this gorgeous species, David. It makes me quite envious to learn that they are such a regular visitor to your back yard. We rarely get any woodpeckers in our garden but, by coincidence, we had a female Great Spotted visit today - the first woodpecker sighting in our garden for a couple of months or more. With love to you and Miriam - - - Richard

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  34. What a glorious post this is.
    Wonderful photographs, a delight to see … thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  35. such lovely little birds. We have had a pair of brown honey-eaters nesting in a bush near our patio. Sadly a crow flew in the other day and took the babies from the nest. So sad, but I guess that is just nature. enjoy the res of your week and thank you for visiting my blog this week.

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  36. Beautiful photos!
    We have Downy Woodpeckers coming to our suet feeder now that the weather is turning colder. I had never thought of them associating with Chickadees, but yes, the Chickadees are here, too.
    Have a wonderful day!

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  37. The Downy Woodpecker is quite handsome. I love when birds are observant to our care. We noticed that many of our neighbors feed the birds so we decided to add a birdbath instead of feed. Now they stop in our yard often and notice when we replenish the bath with fresh water. They are back within seconds. That is a cute analogy between the birds and human teenagers.

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  38. Hello David, what a wonderful blog about this amazing bird. If everybody like you and Miriam would enjoy birds more, there would be less selfishness in the world. And we all could live in peace. Your writing always lifts me up. Especialy when I just have read the bad stuf that is happening in the world.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  39. A lovely post and a joy to be able to see such a bird on a daily basis!

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  40. David - like you, we see Downy Woodpeckers every day. Quite frequently, they will land on a nearby tree before moving to the feeder. I love watching how they move up and down and around a tree - such "antics". A delightful group of photos! Enjoy your weekend.

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  41. Hi David,
    A fantastic little and cute woodpecker!!!
    Beautifully captured!
    Greetings,
    Maria

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  42. What a beautiful bird this tiny woodpecker is!. Very interesting facts about the species and I'm surprised how confident they become and how they take advantage of the anthropized landscapes

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  43. Hi David,
    it's marvellous, the number of birds living in your garden. It must be such a joy for Miriam and you to watch and learn about their way of living. I enjoyed the beautiful pictures of this lovely small woodpecker a lot.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  44. In Poland is no this kind of woodpecker. It look like our Dryobates minor :-)
    Miriam takes grat photos!

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  45. What gorgeous little birds! You're so luck to be able to see them every day!

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