Little Hairy Woodpeckers


From the Simmons Building, I walked halfway across the pedestrian bridge, then headed down the ramp to St. Patrick’s Island. Some bird commotion was coming from a nearby tree. A little above eye level and less than a metre from the ramp, a little hairy woodpecker poked its head out of a hole in a balsam poplar tree. I quickly slid my camera out of my backpack and, a second after my camera was snap-ready, Mr. Hairy arrived with some tasty eats! He made a speedy food delivery to his Little Miss Hairy, I took one photo and poof, he was gone.

After wandering around St. Patrick’s Island, I returned to the woodpecker hole in the hopes of observing more exciting woodpecker action. I took a few photos of a head peering out and that was that.


When I got home and looked at my photos on my large monitor, I noticed that Little Hairy One and Little Hairy Two had different plumages. Juvenile male hairy woodpeckers have a red patch of feathers on top of their heads, unlike their dads who have red patches on the back of their heads. Juvenile females sometimes have a few red feathers on top of their heads, but not an extensive patch (Sibley).



  1. I’ve been trying for years to just get close to these birds. My lens is never long enough to get close. You are so fortunate. What wonderful photos. If you can you should snap more!

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    • Thanks for your kind words, Andy :-). You reminded me that I forgot to mention when I took the photos. It was back on June 9th. So I’m guessing they have fledged by now. I was very lucky that they decided to nest so close to a human walkway. I hope this worked out for them. I’ll be sure to check the tree holes by that walkway next year! Hope you get some lucky photos some day soon too!

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  2. Stunning! What a wonderful discovery on your walk, and the timing was perfect! Then another treat of a discovery when looking at the captured images later. Capturing an often hidden and quick moment of nature is marvelous and beautiful, just like these photos. Thank you for sharing your treasure finds.

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    • Thanks for your appreciation, Haunani! You described some of the magical elements of birding very well – lucky timing, photo surprise and discovering something in nature that was hidden before. 🙂 ❤

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    • Thanks for your sweet comment, Teresa. I definitely have a particular inner squeal of delight for baby birds. Squee, my first baby coots! Squee, can’t breathe, so delighted, a baby spotted sandpiper!!! Squee, a little osprey head with an orange eye! Yup, spring was very exciting. Squee, one of Teresa’s cute mouse drawings! Very excited to see your drawings in my Reader again!! Always amazed by how few lines you need to capture cuteness and tell a story. Hope your arm keeps getting better. 🙂


    • Thanks so much, Jet :-). I mostly didn’t notice tree holes before I tuned into the “bird wavelength”. Now I sometimes miss other things because I’m focused on listening for or looking for birds. Did you see any memorable tree holes this spring?


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