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I give up! Big Downy or small Hairy?


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#1 Texachusetts

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:28 AM

I know I have downys but have been trying to photograph a Hairy that we've see several times. Then this guy shows up and he looks "between". He is tucking his tail behind the suet feeder so I can't see if he has tail spots. I have a juvie that is giving me pause too. I have another picture of this guy from the top of his head if needed for ID. Posted Image

Life list at 429!...Recent Lifers:  Northern Shrike, Pine Grosbeak, Merlin, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Pauraque, Olive Sparrow, Western, Least, Clark's, Horned  and Eared Grebes, Altimira, Audubons, Scotts and Bullock's Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak, Green Kingfisher, Reddish Egret, Red-naped Sapsucker, Barred, Eastern and Western Screech Owls, Flamulated owl,Elf Owl, Mexican Spotted Owl, Snowy Owl, American Bittern, more ducks and shorebirds than I can list , Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Buff-breasted flycatcher, ELEGANT TROGON, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk,Yellow-throated,  Hutton's and Bell's Vireo,Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Yellow-throated warbler, TROPICAL PARULA, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Broad-billed, Anna's, Costa's, Violet -crowned, Rufous and Magnificent Hummingbirds, Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Swamp sparrow,Black-throated Blue warbler, Bay-breasted warbler,Prairie Warbler, Townsend's warbler, Clark's Nutcracker, BB Magpie,Pinyon and  Gray Jay, Pygmy Nuthatch, Lewis's Woodpecker, Brant.
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#2 psweet

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:31 AM

Well, I don't see a spur on the shoulder, so I would lean Downy.

#3 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:40 AM

Agree, looks like a Downy based on shortish bill, lack of shoulder sour, and "whiskered" appearance.

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#4 puma_coryi

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:51 AM

I have to disagree on the downy call based on bill size. That bill is almost as long as its head.

#5 Texachusetts

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:55 AM

Bigger body and longer bill than the one I see most often, but he didn't seem as large as the one I see that I am pretty sure is a hairy. I forgot about the comma...don't downys sometimes have it?

Life list at 429!...Recent Lifers:  Northern Shrike, Pine Grosbeak, Merlin, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Pauraque, Olive Sparrow, Western, Least, Clark's, Horned  and Eared Grebes, Altimira, Audubons, Scotts and Bullock's Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak, Green Kingfisher, Reddish Egret, Red-naped Sapsucker, Barred, Eastern and Western Screech Owls, Flamulated owl,Elf Owl, Mexican Spotted Owl, Snowy Owl, American Bittern, more ducks and shorebirds than I can list , Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Buff-breasted flycatcher, ELEGANT TROGON, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk,Yellow-throated,  Hutton's and Bell's Vireo,Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Yellow-throated warbler, TROPICAL PARULA, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Broad-billed, Anna's, Costa's, Violet -crowned, Rufous and Magnificent Hummingbirds, Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Swamp sparrow,Black-throated Blue warbler, Bay-breasted warbler,Prairie Warbler, Townsend's warbler, Clark's Nutcracker, BB Magpie,Pinyon and  Gray Jay, Pygmy Nuthatch, Lewis's Woodpecker, Brant.
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#6 Benjamin DeHaven

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:56 AM

I would also go downy based on the cuteness of the bird. I usually have trouble with the finer ID points outlined above. I once read you can get a feel for which by asking yourself this question: "if that bird landed on me would I go 'how cute!' or would I fear for my well-being. Downy Woodpeckers are cute and non-theatening while Hairy Woodpeckers look they are logging around a big weapon. The beak is just heavier and longer and sharper even after taking into account size difference.

Please don't kick me off the forum, I swear this is the only bird where cuteness factors in!

Benjamin

Motivational Thought Of The Moment: “The most dangerous risk of all– the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” — Randy Komisar

 

Life List: 291 ** ABA 2014: 85 ** Maryland Life: 237 ** Maryland 2014: 85 ** Baltimore Life: 184 ** Baltimore 2014: 54 ** Delaware Life: 140

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#7 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 01:57 AM

How big is that suet cage? I'm pretty sure I have the same one, if so its absolutely a Downy. A Hairy would cover the entire side. If you measure it, that would definitely seal the deal.

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#8 Texachusetts

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:23 AM

It is 5 1/4 with 7 1/4 diagonal, but he was half sideways and his tail is tucked under, however a nuthatch decided to share and he was about 1 1/2 larger than the nuthatch, and much chunkier. Benjamin I love your method but alas they are all cute to me in their own ways. The bird I have seen that I am almost certain is a hairy is close to the size of the female red belly, and this bird was smaller, but I have a lot smaller downys than this guy. Here is the top of head picture Posted Image

Life list at 429!...Recent Lifers:  Northern Shrike, Pine Grosbeak, Merlin, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Pauraque, Olive Sparrow, Western, Least, Clark's, Horned  and Eared Grebes, Altimira, Audubons, Scotts and Bullock's Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak, Green Kingfisher, Reddish Egret, Red-naped Sapsucker, Barred, Eastern and Western Screech Owls, Flamulated owl,Elf Owl, Mexican Spotted Owl, Snowy Owl, American Bittern, more ducks and shorebirds than I can list , Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Buff-breasted flycatcher, ELEGANT TROGON, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk,Yellow-throated,  Hutton's and Bell's Vireo,Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Yellow-throated warbler, TROPICAL PARULA, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Broad-billed, Anna's, Costa's, Violet -crowned, Rufous and Magnificent Hummingbirds, Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Swamp sparrow,Black-throated Blue warbler, Bay-breasted warbler,Prairie Warbler, Townsend's warbler, Clark's Nutcracker, BB Magpie,Pinyon and  Gray Jay, Pygmy Nuthatch, Lewis's Woodpecker, Brant.
..


#9 Texachusetts

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:25 AM

Correction...he was about 1 1/2 inches bigger than the white breasted nuthatch.

Life list at 429!...Recent Lifers:  Northern Shrike, Pine Grosbeak, Merlin, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Pauraque, Olive Sparrow, Western, Least, Clark's, Horned  and Eared Grebes, Altimira, Audubons, Scotts and Bullock's Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak, Green Kingfisher, Reddish Egret, Red-naped Sapsucker, Barred, Eastern and Western Screech Owls, Flamulated owl,Elf Owl, Mexican Spotted Owl, Snowy Owl, American Bittern, more ducks and shorebirds than I can list , Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Buff-breasted flycatcher, ELEGANT TROGON, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk,Yellow-throated,  Hutton's and Bell's Vireo,Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Yellow-throated warbler, TROPICAL PARULA, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Broad-billed, Anna's, Costa's, Violet -crowned, Rufous and Magnificent Hummingbirds, Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Swamp sparrow,Black-throated Blue warbler, Bay-breasted warbler,Prairie Warbler, Townsend's warbler, Clark's Nutcracker, BB Magpie,Pinyon and  Gray Jay, Pygmy Nuthatch, Lewis's Woodpecker, Brant.
..


#10 TheBillyPilgrim

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:39 AM

100% a Downy, based on your description of the size and the measurement of your suet cage.

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#11 Texachusetts

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 02:42 AM

OK, big Downy it is. I am pretty sure the juvie is a Downy too. Not sure the Hairy is still around to get a picture. I might have to wait for next year! Thanks everyone.

Life list at 429!...Recent Lifers:  Northern Shrike, Pine Grosbeak, Merlin, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Pauraque, Olive Sparrow, Western, Least, Clark's, Horned  and Eared Grebes, Altimira, Audubons, Scotts and Bullock's Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak, Green Kingfisher, Reddish Egret, Red-naped Sapsucker, Barred, Eastern and Western Screech Owls, Flamulated owl,Elf Owl, Mexican Spotted Owl, Snowy Owl, American Bittern, more ducks and shorebirds than I can list , Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Buff-breasted flycatcher, ELEGANT TROGON, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk,Yellow-throated,  Hutton's and Bell's Vireo,Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Yellow-throated warbler, TROPICAL PARULA, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Broad-billed, Anna's, Costa's, Violet -crowned, Rufous and Magnificent Hummingbirds, Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Swamp sparrow,Black-throated Blue warbler, Bay-breasted warbler,Prairie Warbler, Townsend's warbler, Clark's Nutcracker, BB Magpie,Pinyon and  Gray Jay, Pygmy Nuthatch, Lewis's Woodpecker, Brant.
..


#12 JimUSNY

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 11:21 AM

OK, big Downy it is. I am pretty sure the juvie is a Downy too. Not sure the Hairy is still around to get a picture. I might have to wait for next year! Thanks everyone.


I get quite a few hairys as well as downys at my feeders, this year way more hairys since I started putting out the hot pepper suet in one of my cages.. they really seem to like it more than the other suet.. give it a try maybe it will come around more.. Now I put my hot pepper suet in a cage on a tree trunk since the animals wont touch it, so maybe hairys prefer eating from it because its more natural on a trunk?.. I used to have problems telling them apart, but once you see them a lot its fairly easy even from a distance.. and I agree with Benjamin.. downys do look more cute, while hairys seem more handsome :)
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#13 betiam

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 12:50 PM

I would also go downy based on the cuteness of the bird. I usually have trouble with the finer ID points outlined above. I once read you can get a feel for which by asking yourself this question: "if that bird landed on me would I go 'how cute!' or would I fear for my well-being. Downy Woodpeckers are cute and non-theatening while Hairy Woodpeckers look they are logging around a big weapon. The beak is just heavier and longer and sharper even after taking into account size difference.

Please don't kick me off the forum, I swear this is the only bird where cuteness factors in!

Benjamin


That's amazing, Benjamin, because one landed about a foot from my head yesterday and all I could think of was "The Birds" and how that beak could do some real damage to my eye.

Bette
 

 

 


#14 Benjamin DeHaven

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 03:10 PM

A Hairy Woodpecker landed a foot from your head? That's really neat, I understand the concern thinking maybe it is guarding a nesting hole and is about to flutter around my head pecking me! I am going to assume you had a long lens on a camera so you couldn't fit the whole bird in the picture at that distance? That would be my luck. Green Herons are my favorite bird, I just know some day one will land on my tripod so I won't be able to document the wonder of the bird up close.

But ya, woodpeckers are no joke. I saw a video the other night about the Eurasian Green Woodpecker. Among the "facts" presented was the tidbit that they close their eyes every time they hit something and open them again between strikes to aim. The narrator then said the force of the strike was so great if its eyes were not shut the eyeballs would pop out of the head. Not sure I believe that, but more for the thought that eyelids wouldn't contain flying eyeballs. That might be the oddest sentence you see on the forums for a while so savor it!

Benjamin

Motivational Thought Of The Moment: “The most dangerous risk of all– the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” — Randy Komisar

 

Life List: 291 ** ABA 2014: 85 ** Maryland Life: 237 ** Maryland 2014: 85 ** Baltimore Life: 184 ** Baltimore 2014: 54 ** Delaware Life: 140

2013 Sightings (ebird rank): ABA: 260 (2405th) ** Maryland: 212 (81st) ** Baltimore: 169 (20th) ** Delaware: 127 (101st)


#15 spyonabird

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 04:39 PM

That's amazing, Benjamin, because one landed about a foot from my head yesterday and all I could think of was "The Birds" and how that beak could do some real damage to my eye.


I have that same thought everytime the hummingbirds battle over the feeder and I am sitting drinking a glass of wine barely 4 ft away. Of course...it may be the glass of wine that brings those ideas into my head.
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#16 betiam

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:12 PM

I have that same thought everytime the hummingbirds battle over the feeder and I am sitting drinking a glass of wine barely 4 ft away. Of course...it may be the glass of wine that brings those ideas into my head.


Oh, I'm sure not because the same thought occurs to me when I'm just wearing pink or red (and, usually, with a glass of wine, come to think of it ...)

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#17 betiam

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Posted 27 July 2012 - 07:15 PM

A Hairy Woodpecker landed a foot from your head? That's really neat, I understand the concern thinking maybe it is guarding a nesting hole and is about to flutter around my head pecking me! I am going to assume you had a long lens on a camera so you couldn't fit the whole bird in the picture at that distance? That would be my luck. Green Herons are my favorite bird, I just know some day one will land on my tripod so I won't be able to document the wonder of the bird up close.

But ya, woodpeckers are no joke. I saw a video the other night about the Eurasian Green Woodpecker. Among the "facts" presented was the tidbit that they close their eyes every time they hit something and open them again between strikes to aim. The narrator then said the force of the strike was so great if its eyes were not shut the eyeballs would pop out of the head. Not sure I believe that, but more for the thought that eyelids wouldn't contain flying eyeballs. That might be the oddest sentence you see on the forums for a while so savor it!

Benjamin


Unfortunately, I had neither one of my cameras at the time; the point-n-shoot may have gotten all of him. He was a bit confused and had landed on a porch post as I stood leaning on the railing. In fact, he just did it again. Had the camera, but wasn't fast enough. This time my husband got to see him up close and personal, though; he was impressed. Off to savor odd eyeball sentences ... :)

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#18 Texachusetts

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Posted 28 July 2012 - 02:11 AM

I relate to the hummingbirds and the wine! Love it! Intermediate, I have a pepper suet and it doesn't get much attention. Maybe I'll try moving it. I think I have a lot of Downys and only 1 pair of Hairys, and a pair of Red-bellied woodpeckers which I have never seen this far north before. I need to check out your area now that we are more interested in birds. My son went to college in the mid-Hudson Valley, which I love, and I remember seeing different birds there even though it is not far away. I specifically remember a hill with a huge flock of Bobolinks That is the only time I have ever seen them.

Life list at 429!...Recent Lifers:  Northern Shrike, Pine Grosbeak, Merlin, Red Crossbill, White-winged Crossbill, Common Pauraque, Olive Sparrow, Western, Least, Clark's, Horned  and Eared Grebes, Altimira, Audubons, Scotts and Bullock's Orioles, Black-headed Grosbeak, Green Kingfisher, Reddish Egret, Red-naped Sapsucker, Barred, Eastern and Western Screech Owls, Flamulated owl,Elf Owl, Mexican Spotted Owl, Snowy Owl, American Bittern, more ducks and shorebirds than I can list , Northern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Buff-breasted flycatcher, ELEGANT TROGON, Gray Hawk, Black Hawk,Yellow-throated,  Hutton's and Bell's Vireo,Black-throated Gray Warbler, Painted Redstart, Yellow-throated warbler, TROPICAL PARULA, Black-tailed Gnatcatcher, Broad-billed, Anna's, Costa's, Violet -crowned, Rufous and Magnificent Hummingbirds, Yellow and Black-billed Cuckoos, Swamp sparrow,Black-throated Blue warbler, Bay-breasted warbler,Prairie Warbler, Townsend's warbler, Clark's Nutcracker, BB Magpie,Pinyon and  Gray Jay, Pygmy Nuthatch, Lewis's Woodpecker, Brant.
..





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