04.12.20: Taking a break

A male Downy Woodpecker takes a break from working on a limb in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.

A male Downy Woodpecker takes a break from working on a limb in Prairie Oaks Metro Park, West Jefferson, Ohio.

Downy Woodpecker resting on a branch

‍Tech specs

  • Date/time: April 1, 2016, 10:08 a.m.
  • Location: 39°59'33.276" N, 83°15'20.85" W (Show in Google Maps)
  • Camera: Canon EOS 7D Mark II
  • Lens: Canon EF 600mm f/4L, Canon 1.4x teleconverter (840mm)
  • Aperture: f/5.6
  • Shutter: 1/1250th second
  • ISO: 800

‍This is a male Downy Woodpecker. I’m pretty sure it is, anyway. But I wouldn’t bet my camera equipment on the ID.

‍Downy Woodpeckers are almost identical to the larger Hairy Woodpecker in plumage pattern, so making an ID from a photo can be difficult. Males in both species have a red spot on the back of the head. The Downy does have black spots on its white tail feathers. And the Downy’s bill is shorter than its head while the Hairy’s bill is about equal length to its head.

‍So this is a male Downy Woodpecker … I think.

‍I see a lot of Downy (or maybe Hairy) woodpeckers in parks around Central Ohio. Their habitats are the same — open woodlands. I also see the larger Red-bellied Woodpecker and occasionally I’m lucky enough to find a giant Pileated Woodpecker. I’ve even found one immature Red-headed Woodpecker (the young are black).

‍A Downy Woodpecker is about five and a half to six and a half inches long. A Hairy Woodpecker is between seven and 10 inches long., about the same size as a Red-bellied Woodpecker. But a Pileated Woodpecker can be more than 19 inches long with a bright red crest. It looks a lot like Woody Woodpecker and when it attacks a tree it looks like someone has taken a jackhammer to the wood.

‍This Downy Woodpecker was hanging from a limb in Prairie Oaks Metro Park when I found it. The bird had taken a break to look around when I grabbed this photo.

‍I liked how the bird was isolated against an uncluttered background, eliminating distractions..



I see a lot of Downy (or maybe Hairy) woodpeckers in parks around Central Ohio. Their habitats are the same — open woodlands.