Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Another "Missed" Bird

This just keeps getting better. Now I've seen yet another of the regular birds that I missed in January. It was the Hairy Woodpecker. Where were these birds during January?

Hairy woodpckers are easily told from Downy Woodpeckers if you see their bills. Hairy woodpeckers have a big, honkin' bill that's about as long as their heads are wide. You can just see the partially obscured bill in this photo. Downy woodpecker bills are tiny in comparison, less than half the width of the head, often just barely peeking past the little tufts of feathers where the bill begins.

Hairy woodpeckers are quite a bit larger than downy woodpeckers, but that's not always easy to tell unless the bird is close (and if you are familiar with the size of the more common downy woodpecker).

Hairy woodpeckers come to my feeders, but seem much shyer than the downy woodpeckers and startle easily. Well, that's another species to add to the foot-powered birding list (though if I'd seen this bird during January, when I should have seen it, my species count for that month would have reached 29, which is precariously close to theoretical 30 species I hope one day to find in January at the cabin).


MojoMan said...

Thanks for the tip on telling the difference between downy and hairy woodpeckers by bill sizes. I'm always trying to judge sizes and looking for the spots on the tail of the downy.

April said...

Wonderful bird photos. The Hairy Woodpecker and Pileated Woodpecker are two birds that don't seem to mind our winters, so I'm seeing them too. I've always said "pil-eated", but if the experts are saying "pill-eated", I can change.

Anonymous said...

So do you say Hair-ee or Har-ree?
Just kidding!