There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hairy Woodpecker

Picoides villosus

Medium-sized woodpecker
Long chisel-like bill
White and black striped face
White underparts
Black upperparts with white bars on wings
White stripe down center of back
White outer tail features
Male - Red patch on back of head broken by a vertical black line connecting the crown and nape

Listen to its call.

I've been having a heck of a time finding one of these birds. I've often wondered if I had seen one on occasion only to mistake it for a Downy Woodpecker, as the two species look so similar in pictures. However, having finally seen the real thing in my backyard, I was struck by how much larger this bird is than the Downy. The bill is also significantly longer.

Learn more about the Hairy Woodpecker. 

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