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Dec 17, 2011

Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers have white backs

                                                                                                                     Photo by BarrytheBirder
We have three woodpeckers coming regularly to our single suet feeder: a male Hairy (see photo above) and a male and female Downy Woodpecker.   Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers  are the only woodpeckers in eastern and central North America with white backs without markings.    I normally put out the prepackaged suet blocks that have seeds or nuts, or other goodies imbedded in them.   But I'm thinking that this winter, for a change, I may go to a butcher and buy some large suet remnants that are otherwise sold off to renderers.   The name woodpecker, in English, dates back to about 1530.   Meanwhile, the game bird known as the woodcock derives its name from the Old English wuducoc (about 1050); formed from wudu wood + cocc cock.
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