Dear little downy, the smallest woodpecker in North America.
This year we have a bumper crop of these sweet and fairly tame woodpeckers. When they were fledging they were all over the place, accidentally and on purpose.
This one is a male, you can tell by the red patch on his head.
They just love the Feathered Friend brand suet cakes I get at our local Agway.
This female Downy Woodpecker is enjoying some homemade suet dough in the platform feeder.
According to Chipper Woods Bird Observatory…
In addition to its popularity with backyard bird feeding enthusiasts, the Downy Woodpecker provides a valuable service to our ecosystems. Its preference for insects, especially wood boring larvae, is of great economic benefit as many destructive insects pests are consumed. Overall, census data indicates that populations are holding steady, although population declines are occurring in some areas.
The availability of suitable nest sites plays an important role in population distribution. Managing woodlands to retain dead trees and snags for nesting will go a long way toward maintaining a healthy population of these and other cavity nesting birds.
We certainly have plenty of dead trees out behind our house so I’m glad we never bother cleaning them up!