Project 366 – Post No. 300 – Hairy woodpecker

What is Project 366? Read more here.

The last two post have featured a Downy Woodpeckers, first a female and then a male. There is, however, another woodpecker in town that looks nearly identical to the Downy Woodpecker. The Hairy Woodpecker is a tad larger than the Downy, with a distinctly longer bill. There are also some even more subtle differences in the black and white markings the the outer tail feathers of the two species. To make things even trickier, the two species can be found in the same habitat and often if one of them is around, the other one is not far away. Today’s picture is of a female Hairy Woodpecker. The telltale sign is the proportionately longer bill relative the head. My rule of thumb is that in Hairy Woodpeckers the length of the bill is more than half of the width of the head while in Downy Woodpeckers the bill is decidedly less than half the width of the head. As with most things in life, the more of the two species you see and compare the better one becomes at telling them apart.

May the curiosity be with you. This is from “The Birds are Calling” blog ( Copyright Mario Pineda.