Downy Woodpeckers are the smallest in the woodpecker family. Just a tad smaller than the Hairy Woodpecker.
Downy Woodpeckers don’t sing pretty songs, however they drum rhythmically against pieces of wood or metal to impress their mates. So, if you hear an even rhythm drum solo on your house, no worries, it’s just Romeo belting out a ballad. If you hear random poking and prodding, then your home may have bugs.
Male and female have separate feeding areas in fall and early winter, with pairs forming by late winter. The nest site cavity is excavated by both sexes, usually in a dead limb or tree, usually 12-30′ above ground.
In the winter, Downy woodpeckers roost in tree cavities. They forage on trees, picking the bark surface in summer and digging deeper in winter. The Downy Woodpecker eats foods that larger woodpeckers cannot reach, such as insects living on or in the stems of weeds. You may see them hammering at goldenrod galls to extract the fly larvae inside. They mainly eat insects however, also seeds and berries. In winter, Downy Woodpeckers can often be found in suburban backyards with trees and love suet feeders.
© Ilex – Midwestern Plant Girl