I was headed to the back yard with a couple new cakes of suet for my feeders. When I was less than four feet from one of the wire-covered feeders, I saw a little Downy Woodpecker inside, pecking away. I figure he’d hightail it with me that close, but he paid me no mind whatsoever and continued to hammer away at the chunk of suet. I backed off and decided to let him finish his meal before replacing the suet.
But a what a friendly little bird.
I always have at least one pair of Downy’s in my yard. On several occasions I have seen newly hatched birds begging for food from their parents. Downy’s are the smallest woodpeckers in my yard, though a nuthatch, similar to a woodpecker, is smaller yet than a Downy.
Downy Woodpeckers are like black and white checker boards with a little red on top, at least for the males. The females lack the red top knot.
The little fellows are quite agile and hitch up and down and all around tree limbs looking for juicy bugs. When they fly, they bob up and down in mid-air, and in summer, they will actually drum on trees to attract mates.
Downy Woodpeckers can be found in a variety of habitats like open woodlands – particularly those with deciduous trees – plus orchards, parks, vacant lots and backyards.
I am fortunate that most every type of woodpecker visits my yard because of all the old and decaying maple trees.
After the Downy in the cage finished his snack, I resupplied the two feeders with fresh suet. I had barely finished when my little friend flew back in. My presence was of little concern. I will make sure his feeder stays full.