Deep Dive: Downy Woodpeckers

by OBDK on December 19, 2022

If you have any birds that come to your backyard, you’ve probably seen a Downy Woodpecker. These woodpeckers are both the most common and smallest species of woodpecker in the region of North America.1
These birds have a very short lifespan – usually only a couple of years. They stand around 7 inches tall, weigh about an ounce, and have a wingspan of 10-12 inches. These birds eat insects from plant stems and within trees. They’ll drum into the bark of a tree trunk or branch to get to the insects underneath, but this action can also be used to create a cavity for a nest or to defend their territory.2
Downy Woodpeckers don’t migrate. They’ll stay within North America all year round. During the winter months, males and females will split up to find food and feed in different places. When they’re found in yards that have feeders, you’ll find them eating the suet.3
When they reproduce, females will lay 3-6 eggs and will incubate them for just under two weeks. Offspring won’t be with their parents for very long – they’re on their own after only three weeks. Offspring is vulnerable to predation by Black Rat Snakes and certain species of squirrels. Adult Downy Woodpeckers face threats from Kestrels and Hawks.2
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