Updated: Jan 17
Almost every inch of these ONE ounce avian carpenters is equipped with amazing adaptations! Downy Woodpeckers are considered one of the smallest species of woodpeckers. Their zygodactylous feet allow them to cling, grasp and perform upside down acrobatics. The hyoid bone and spongy elastic material protects their brains since drilling is at the top of their resumes. They’re equipped with special nose feathers to prevent them from inhaling wood particles and they have a translucent third-eyelid (nictitating membrane) which cleanses their eyes and act as a shield for debris.
These black and white beauties are non-migratory and can be found in most US states. Be careful with identification, they’re nearly identical to the Hairy Woodpecker, which is considerably larger. Since we’re already experiencing winter temps here in Wyoming, I’m enjoying these dedicated drillers as they frequent the suet feeders in my yard.