Hairy Woodpecker

Order: Piciformes
Family: Picidae
Genus: Picoides
Species: villosus

Hairy Woodpecker, R.Bruce Horsfall, Bird Gossip, Harriette Wilbur, 1920

  R. Bruce Horsfall

Gr. pikos woodpecker
La. picus woodpecker
Gr. Circe, mythological daughter
     of Helios, changed Picus, son
     of Saturn, into a woodpecker
La. forma form, shape, kind
La. -oides resembling
La. villosus hairy, shaggy, rough
Nine to ten inches long. Black and white bands extending back from the beak across the top and sides of the head.
Red patch on the back of the male's head. Black wings with white spots in rows. White throat and underside. Straight black chisel beak. Often mistaken for a Downy Woodpecker, however the Hairy Woodpecker is larger and has a larger beak.

Inhabits forests, groves and parks throughout most of North America wherever there are trees. 

USGS Hairy Woodpecker Map

The male may begin chiseling several holes in the fall before selecting the right one.   Females and males occupy separate holes until the mating season.

 Lays four or five, more or less, white eggs which hatch after about two weeks incubation and young leave the nest in about another four weeks.

Its drumming is heard in forests.   Braces its pecking and agile movements with strong tail feathers.

Eats insects it mostly finds in bark crevices of trees.  Cornell Ornithology claims Hairy Woodpeckers can feel a moving insects' vibration and can also hear insects munch on wood.

Species Nestbox Dimensions for Hairy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker Nestbox Plans

In winter they venture out of deep forests and often to back yard bird feeders.

The Hairy Woodpecker nest box has a 6" by 6" floor, 14" inside ceiling, 1 5/8" diameter entrance hole located 11" above the floor and ventilation openings. Hinged roof is secured with shutter hooks. Assembled with corrosion resistant screws fit to pre-drilled pilot holes for easy assembly.

Mount 12 feet or higher on a tree in a forest, forest edge, or grove.


Hairy Woodpecker, John L. Ridgway, originally in Department of Agriculture Bulletin, reprinted in Western Birds, Harriet Williams Myers, 1922

John L. Ridgway


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