Downy Woodpecker

Species Profile: Downy Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker, Picoides pubescens

Learn more about this species in the Peterson Reference Guide to Woodpeckers of North America.

Introduction to the species

“On the farm he installs himself as Inspector of Apple-trees. It is an old and honorable profession among birds. The pay is small, consisting only of what can be picked up, but, as cultivated trees are so infested with insects that food is always plentiful, and as they have usually a dead branch suitable to next in, Downy asks no more.”
-H. Eckstorm 1900

The little Downy Woodpecker adorns backyard gardens and parks throughout North America. And this is one tiny woodpecker. Not only is it the smallest on the continent, but the Downy also ranks as one of the ten smallest woodpeckers in the world. Despite the bird’s Lilliputian stature, birders from coast to coast well know the Downy’s descending whinny heard from within their local woodlands.

Gallery of photos by Steve Shunk

 

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