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Hairy Woodpecker The larger of two look alikes,

Hairy Woodpecker The larger of two look alikes

The Hairy Woodpecker, which is the larger of two similar birds, is a small but strong bird that forages on trunks and main branches in large trees. The Hairy Woodpecker has a longer, almost thornlike, bill than the Downy Woodpecker. The hairy woodpeckers are a bit more stoic than other birds, due to their straight-backed, upright posture on tree trunks, and their cleanly striped head. You can find them in backyard suet and sunflower feeders. They also whine from woodlots, parks and forests.

Habitat

The Hairy Woodpecker is common in mature forests with large trees. They can also be found in parks, woodlots and cemeteries. They can be found in coniferous forests as well as deciduous forests. They can also be found in the forest edges, near beaver ponds and southern swamps.

Food

The Hairy Woodpecker eats more than 75% insects. This includes the larvae of bark and wood beetles as well as ants and moth pupae. They also consume bees and wasps as well as caterpillars and spiders. Sometimes, bark beetles can infest thousands of trees and their numbers can reach into the millions. Hairy Woodpeckers are often present in large numbers to eat the larvae when this happens. White Birds

Similar results can be seen in recently burned forests, where wood-boring insects become extremely common. These areas can be home to hairy woodpeckers and other woodpecker species, which may lead to high nesting success. The control of pests like codling moths in fruit orchards has been made easier by Hairy Woodpeckers.

A little over 20% of Hairy Woodpeckers’ diet is composed of fruits and seeds. Common visitors to feeders include Hairy Woodpeckers who eat suet and sunflower seed.

Behaviour

Hairy Woodpeckers are known to climb tree trunks and along large branches. They lean back against stiff tail feathers, then spring up with both feet simultaneously. Hairy Woodpeckers do not eat weed stalks or cattails like Downy Woodpeckers. Sometimes they forage near the base of trees, especially ponderosa pines. This is where a species bark beetle often attacks.

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Hairy Woodpeckers will raise their wings at 45 degrees to the sky, crane their heads, and make loud, shrill calls during conflicts. The courting birds will raise their necks and point their bills high. They then bob their heads around the tree trunk, flicking their wings, as they circle it. Sometimes they chase one another in fast looping flight through the trees.

Nesting

The nest’s entrance is approximately 2 inches high and 1.5 inches wide. This creates a cavity that can be 8-12 inches in depth. To make space for the eggs and incubating birds, the inside of the nest widens at its bottom. The inside is usually bare, with the exception of a small bed of wood chips at its bottom that allows the chicks and eggs to rest on.

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