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Downy Woodpeckers Foraging For Overwintering Insects

Three-quarters of a Downy Woodpecker’s diet consists of animal matter, mostly beetles, weevils, ants, wasps, bees, true bugs, caterpillars, spiders and snails.  The pictured male Downy has located and is consuming some overwintering wood boring beetles.  

 Notice he is on a small branch.  Research shows that male Downys tend to forage on small-diameter branches and stems of weeds, whereas females are often found on larger branches and the trunks of tree.  

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5 responses

  1. I had no idea that there was a difference in the feeding habits of males and females! Thanks for yet another fascinating bit of information!

    January 29, 2021 at 8:57 am

  2. Alice

    That’s quite a varied diet, but too bad they eat bees. They also love beef-suet, which I’m happy to supply.

    January 29, 2021 at 9:37 am

  3. Some winters ago, I had a bunch off Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers busily pecking away evey day on the Pin Oak outside my kitchen window. I don’t know what they were finding under the bark — the tree had always seemed healthy — but they managed to completely girdle the top of the tree! The tree has since sent up new leaders, and so far no one is pecking it…!

    January 29, 2021 at 12:04 pm

  4. I am very lucky! OI have so many Downy’s in our yard apparently as i just learned by the stated sightings plenty of male and females alike! Thank you, once again for great information! 🙂 ❤

    January 29, 2021 at 1:11 pm

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    January 29, 2021 at 2:05 pm

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