The Travels of Tug 44


Downy Woodpecker






The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest of the North American woodpeckers. The suet feeder has about a 1 inch grid, so we know he's tiny. This one is a male, as indicated by the cute little red hat he wears.   high-res



Here he tilts his head so we can get a better look at his red hat. Don't you love it when critters cooperate? :).   high-res



Most birds have an inner eyelid called a "nicitating membrane". Woodpeckers often half-close that inner eyelid, which closes from front to back ... and it protects their eyes from flying wood chips and debris as they hammer trees, or as in this case ... my suet feeder.   high-res



This is a female Downy Woodpecker, she looks just like the male but she doesn't have the red hat. She's pounding away at the block of suet, which is not much different from the grubs and beetle larvae they normally feed on. Suet is hardened beef grease, in this case mixed with ground up grasshoppers. Yumm!   high-res



She's a bit unsteady on the feeder on this windy day, so a bit of wing flapping helps her hang on. All those little white squares on her feathers look like a confetti explosion when she takes off ... a nice survival value if she is attacked by a hawk.   high-res



Meet the family! On the left is an immature Downy Woodpecker, his red "hat" feathers are just starting to grow in. On the right is a female, perhaps his Mom. She's waiting her turn on the suet feeder.   high-res

The Downy Woodpecker, the smallest of the Woodpeckers.




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