Gr. pikos woodpecker
La. picus woodpecker
Gr. Circe, mythological daughter
of Helios, changed Picus, son
of Saturn, into a woodpecker
La. forma form, shape, kind
La. -oides resembling
La. pubescens pubescent
to puberty, hairy
Smallest and tamest of the woodpeckers. Six or seven inches long. Black crown,
black and white streaks leading back from the beak across the side of the head and red
patch in the back of the male's head. Black and white back. Black wings with white
bars. White chin, throat and underside.
Widespread and abundant. Year around resident throughout the
lower 50 states except the arid south west, from lower and coastal Alaska, throughout most
of Canada below 60 degrees north latitude, lower Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and
Downy Woodpeckers excavate their own cavities usually in partially decayed
trees in deciduous and mixed forests, apple orchards, groves, farms, country
homes and towns. Anywhere there are trees, even suburbs and cities.
Lays three to five, more or less, white eggs. Young hatch after less than two
weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another three weeks.
Forages for insects, berries and seeds on the branches of low trees, hedges,
and brush heaps. Feeds on suet in cold weather.
Short drum rolls.
Louis Agassiz Fuertes
Occasionally emits a call resembling the metallic ring of a hammer contacting a
They are social birds, often seen in the company of
other species including chickadees, nuthatches, titmice and wrens.
The Downy Woodpecker nest box (same as for Tufted Titmouse, Plain Titmouse,
Mountain, Carolina, & Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted and White-breasted
Nuthatches) has a 4" by 4" floor, 9" inside ceiling, 1 1/4" diameter entrance
hole located 7" above the floor and ventilation openings. Assemble with
corrosion resistant screws and fit to pre-drilled countersunk pilot holes.
Secure hinged roof with shutter hooks for easy access and safety when
maintaining at heights.
Nest Box Plans
Mount nest box on a tree trunk about eye level or just out of
reach, higher only if necessary. Because they commonly nest in natural or
abandon cavities, or excavate their own cavities, place few chips on the nest