The site navigation utilizes arrow, enter, escape, and space bar key commands. Left and right arrows move across top level links and expand / close menus in sub levels. Up and Down arrows will open main level menus and toggle through sub tier links. Enter and space open menus and escape closes them as well. Tab will move on to the next part of the site rather than go through menu items.

The Buzz

What's the Difference?: Downy Woodpeckers vs. Hairy Woodpeckers




Left: Downy woodpecker. (Photo courtesy of Paul Dacko) Right: Hairy woodpecker. (Photo via Shutterstock)

With their black-and-white plumages and the males' flash of red on their heads, downy woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers can be especially difficult to distinguish from one another. Both are found in Will County and throughout Illinois and the United States, and both are common in backyards, drawn to suet feeders and even seed feeders, according to Project FeederWatch

So, then, how can you tell which type of woodpecker is the one you spy out your window? If you can get a close look, you'll spot some tell-tale signs that distinguish the two species from one another.

First, hairy woodpeckers are bigger than downy woodpeckers. Hairy woodpeckers stand about 9.25 inches long and are similar in size to a robin, while downy woodpeckers only measure about 6.5 inches long, similar in size to a house sparrow. Hairy woodpeckers also have a longer bill, about as long as their heads, while downy woodpeckers' bills are short in comparison, only about a third of the length of its head, the Audubon Society reports. 

The tail feathers can also serve as a key identification factor. The outer tail feathers on hairy woodpeckers are usually pure white, while downy woodpeckers typically have white tail feathers with black barring, giving the effect of being spotted, according to Project FeederWatch.

Where you see the bird may also be a clue. While hairy woodpeckers prefer tall trees and more forested area, downys often settle on younger trees or even cattails, the Audubon Society reports. And finally, downy woodpeckers are more prevalent, especially in suburban areas, than their hairy counterparts.

 

____________

Stay up-to-date on the happenings in Will County's forest preserves by subscribing to The Citizen, our weekly digital newsletter that provides subscribers with updates on Forest Preserve news, upcoming events, and other fun and useful information for the whole family. If you're only interested in programs, subscribe to The Weekly Five, which outlines the five must-do programs each week. Signing up for either newsletter is easy and free of charge.

First Murder Hornets, Now Zombie Cicadas. Luckily, Their Names Make Them Sound Worse Than They Are

8/4/2020

Zombie cicadas are the latest scary-sounding insect to roam the world, but much like the murder hornets before them they sound scarier than they actually are.

Read More


Quiz: What's Your Belted Kingfisher IQ?

8/3/2020

Find out on this 10-question quiz.

Read More


5 Fascinating Facts About Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

7/31/2020

The ruby-throated hummingbird is among the most beloved birds in Will County, and the more you know about them the more you will love them.

Read More


Sign up for a Newsletter