This small woodpecker is barely bigger than a sparrow. Overall it is black and white on the back with white front; males have a red patch on the nape. The bill is relatively short and stubby.
The Downy Woodpecker is a “bark forager,” seeking insects as it scales tree trunks. It will also avidly consume suet and sunflower seeds at feeders. These cavity nesters excavate their own hole in a dead tree. Both sexes drum; this startlingly loud sound is thought to function as signal to potential or actual mates and to establish territories. It occurs most often in late winter and early spring. In early March of 2014 a Downy at the SBG was observed drumming loudly; it was soon answered by two more in the distance.
What brings it to the SBG?
Food, cover, nesting sites. The SBG supplies abundant insect life and seeds. Dead trees around the SBG’s perimeter provide nesting sites.
When can I see it?