A female Hairy Woodpecker in my backyard in northeast Iowa. USA

Hairy Woodpecker

The larger of two look alikes, the Hairy Woodpecker is a small but powerful bird that forages along trunks and main branches of large trees. It wields a much longer bill than the Downy Woodpecker’s almost thornlike bill. Hairy Woodpeckers have a somewhat soldierly look, with their erect, straight-backed posture on tree trunks and their cleanly striped heads. Look for them at backyard suet or sunflower feeders, and listen for them whinnying from woodlots, parks, and forests.

Size & Shape
A medium-sized woodpecker with a fairly square head, a long, straight, chisel-like bill, and stiff, long tail feathers to lean against on tree trunks. The bill is nearly the same length as the head.

Color Pattern
Hairy Woodpeckers are contrastingly black and white. The black wings are checkered with white; the head has two white stripes (and, in males, a flash of red toward the back of the head). A large white patch runs down the center of the black back.

Hairy Woodpeckers hitch up tree trunks and along main branches. They sometimes feed at the bases of trees, along fallen logs, and even on the ground at times. They have the slowly undulating flight pattern of most woodpeckers.

Hairy Woodpeckers are birds of mature forests across the continent. They’re also found in woodlots, suburbs, parks, and cemeteries, as well as forest edges, open woodlands of oak and pine, recently burned forests, and stands infested by bark beetles.

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Hello! I am a wife, mother, worship leader and piano teacher. Photography is a new passion of mine. I also enjoy singing, playing the piano & flute, bicycling and the theatre! Thank you for all your kindness and support here. God bless you!

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  • barnsis
    barnsisover 1 year ago

    Great closeup. I had one playing around here today but she didn’t stay still very long, got a couple of shots

  • Thanks, Byron & Julie!! I have been trying all winter long to capture one of these
    Hairy Woodpeckers . . . they seem to be more shy than the Downys that visit!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • Marion Chapman
    Marion Chapmanover 1 year ago

    Wow! Where do you go to capture these amazing photos??

  • Thank you so much, Marion!! Most of the birds I “capture” are in my own backyard!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • Monnie Ryan
    Monnie Ryanover 1 year ago

    Another pretty one – love the colorful woodpeckers!

  • Thank you, Monnie!!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • Fred Mitchell
    Fred Mitchellover 1 year ago

    Well done. We have nothing like this around here.

  • Thanks, Fred!!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • Lynn Gedeon
    Lynn Gedeonover 1 year ago

    Great capture!!! Love the POV and detail!

  • Thank you so much, Lynn!!

    – lorilee

  • Rick  Friedle
    Rick Friedleover 1 year ago

    Great capture!

  • Thank you, Rick!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • missmoneypenny
    missmoneypennyover 1 year ago

    Lovely shot Lori

  • Thanks, Chris!!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • Jack Ryan
    Jack Ryanover 1 year ago

    One of my favorite summer visitors. Excellent image.

  • Thank you so much, Jack!!

    – lorilee

  • Sandra Fortier
    Sandra Fortierover 1 year ago

    Beautiful..Such a terrific find!

  • Thank you, Sandra!!! :o)

    – lorilee

  • pcfyi
    pcfyiover 1 year ago

    featured 3-3-13

  • Wonderful!!! Thank you very much!! :o)

    – lorilee

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