NO! That never happens. The two birds hate each other. And yet today, it happened. I did the best photography I could given that the lens was very long and it was hard to get the entire picture of both birds together in one picture. I was also somewhat hampered by the grill on the French doors. But I did get pictures after Garry pushed me.

I was not only hampered by the long lens, but also by the fact that the Hairy Woodpecker is partly hidden by the barbecue. We could see him better from the kitchen window than I could from the dining room.

I figured the birds would disappear before I got the shot, but they didn’t. The difference in size isn’t as obvious in the photographs as they were to our eyes, but the Hairy is at least 50% bigger than the Downy. Otherwise, they look remarkably alike, even though they are not related.

Downy up top, Hairy lower on the pole. The little Downy is all fluffed up so he looks bigger I assume so the bigger bird will be scared by his ferocity?

For the birders in the crowd, this is a rare picture. You never, ever see these two birds sharing space. They chase each other when they meet. Usually. On our deck, they share.

It’s the suet. They love the suet and we have three cakes of it in two feeders as well as one broken one in one of the flat feeders. Apparently if you give them the right food, they might just walk into a bar together.

Categories: #Birds, #Photography, Anecdote, Woodpeckers

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13 replies

  1. You have a great eye, Mariyn! And what a rare treat to see the two birds feeding so close together! Good work!


    • Thank you! Actually, I wasn’t even going to try to take the shot because I get there, pick up the camera, and they are gone. But Garry told me to shut up and get the camera and it worked. A picture of these two is a real treat! The little one is an evolved copy of the big on so he can look scarier. Apparently it works since birds are very optical — but not on other woodpeckers. They know the difference.

      We have all kinds of birds — except hawks — eating together. It’s like a watering hole in the desert. They ignore each other and eat. I’m surprised at how little fighting goes on.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great encounter for you, I’m glad you were able to capture it on camera!


    • Thank you ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s a rare picture. I’ve only seen one other — also on a suet cake at a feeder. Normally these two birds would squabble and the little one would quickly depart, but these days, they will share space. Not wing to wing, but pretty close. I was surprised and very pleased.


  3. bet you were delighted to get the pics! Amazing to see two birds together that wouldn’t normally share space at all!


    • For a birder, this was a special moment. These two birds typically live in the same woods, but they also famously hate each other. I supposed a good meal cancels all debts ๐Ÿ˜€


  4. Great shots Marilyn


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