Boreal Birds
300+ species, billions of birds rely on Canada's boreal forest as critical breeding grounds
© Dick Daniels/Wikimedia Commons (CC 3.0)

Hairy Woodpecker

Hairy Woodpecker
Picoides villosus
Tree-clinging Birds | Family: Woodpeckers, Picidae

An estimated 33% of the species' North American population breeds within the Boreal Forest.

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Overview

The Hairy Woodpecker is more a forest bird and is shyer than its smaller relative, the Downy Woodpecker. The Hairy Woodpecker is one of the most beneficial birds, helping to save both forest and fruit trees by destroying many harmful insects, such as wood-boring beetles, which it extracts from holes with its barbed tongue. Like other woodpeckers, it hammers on a dead limb as part of its courtship ceremony and to proclaim its territory.

Description

9" (23 cm). A robin-sized woodpecker. Black and white, with unspotted white back and long bill; male has red head patch. Like most woodpeckers it has an undulating flight. See Downy Woodpecker.

Voice

A sharp, distinctive peek, louder than that of Downy Woodpecker; also a loud rattle on 1 pitch.

Nesting

4 white eggs in a hole in a tree.

Habitat

Deciduous forest; more widespread in winter and during migration.

Range/Migration

Resident from Alaska and across Canada south throughout United States to Gulf of Mexico. Some northern birds migrate south for winter.