Downy Woodpecker!

I wasn’t around (again) for the start of the excitement, but there’s a new bird in town: a female (or maybe a juvenile) woodpecker that everyone seems to pretty much agree is a Downy. Here’s the first shot, taken by idbirds at 7:21 p.m. on July 31:

Image 26020

Here’s one taken by kitcat the next day at 8:01 a.m. I’m including it here because I think the chickadee is so cute:

Image 26272

Finally, here’s what might be my favorite shot of the bird out of the actually fairly large number (about 80 or so) that have been taken so far. This one was taken by annelizabeth at 7:25 p.m. last Tuesday, August 7:

Image 27636

You can’t see it in any of these photos, but there have been some where you can definitely see some black flecks in the white outer tail feathers. Here’s one snapped by birdbrain at 8:40 a.m. on August 1 that shows them well:

Image 26256

There has been some discussion surrounding the question of whether this might be a Hairy, rather than a Downy, and I confess I’m not 100% convinced myself. Among the things that make me wonder are what looks to be a relatively large beak in some shots, and the big Sibley guide’s illustration on page 313 showing a “Pacific” race adult female Hairy that has the tail spots (normally a good way of pegging a bird as a Downy). On the other hand, as at least one user has commented, this bird seems to lack the large black “shoulder” mark that Hairy typically shows, and if, as has been stated in comments, the suet feeder is 5 inches square, this bird’s size definitely seems closer to the Downy’s length of 6.75″ (Sibley) than the Hairy’s 9.25″. On the third hand, if this is a juvenile bird, maybe that would have a bearing on the ID?

On balance, I think I’m okay with calling it a Downy. But it’s a fun question to think about, regardless. And in the meantime, I’m very jealous that my lack of birdcam time (I was pretty busy for a while, and then was on vacation without a computer for a week) has kept me from getting a shot of this bird. Hopefully I can get one in the next few days.

One Response to “Downy Woodpecker!”

  1. kryptonkay says:

    One day I was zooming in on this birds head and she turned and looked right at the camera and I was so excited and then the camera frooze up and I looked at that picture for along time but The picture didn’t take. I think of that everytime I see her. someday I’ll get that front shot. I love all the pictures everyones been taking.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.