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looks like a downy to me too. sometimes with the head cocked a little to the side it throws off how long the bill looks... but im still leaning strongly to downy

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Downy for me. Overall size and shape of Hairy is like that of a Red-bellied. 

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What's bothering me is the lack of black barring on the tail, which points towards Hairy. Can some groups of Downys lack this?

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Just now, Birding Boy said:

What's bothering me is the lack of black barring on the tail, which points towards Hairy. Can some groups of Downys lack this?

Yep.

This is an instance, like the Coopers/Sharp-shinned, where you should never lean on one field mark alone. 

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5 minutes ago, Birding Boy said:

What's bothering me is the lack of black barring on the tail, which points towards Hairy. Can some groups of Downys lack this?

This is what bothered me as well. My initial reaction was that it was Downy (which would be a lifer) but the tail had me unsure!

 

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Bill length is fine for Downy. I've seen absolute Downy with even longer seeming bills than this. It varies depending on how much feathers they have at the base. 

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I agree with @meghann , I have a pair of Downy that frequent my backyard and one of the Downy has a (seemingly) much longer bill than the other Downy, I believe it is just because itone bird is missing some feathers. Also if we zoom into the bill area it makes the feathers in that area stand out more and the bill look shorter. So I say Downy 🙂 

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Posted (edited)

All things being equal on the plumage, the most commented feature to separate them is the bill length relative to size of head . Downy is typically stubby, hairy is longer . This bill looks like it belongs to a hairy to me , and looks like some of it is being hidden by feathers at the base . A downy typically shows more white on the back also that seems to be missing here . 

But that’s just me 🙂

Edited by HawkinsBirder
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Hairy Woodpeckers have a larger overall size and shape reminiscent of a Red-bellied Woodpecker. This bird looks nothing like that. Hairy Woodpeckers also typically have a shoulder spur, while this bird has a black looking mark, it's too low to be the shoulder, and looks more like displaced feathers. Lack of tail spots *can* be a feature of Hairy, but like apparent bill length, is more of a supporting aspect, rather than defining, as some populations of Downy Woodpeckers also lack tail spots.

To show how feathers or lack thereof can affect how long a Downy's bill looks, the following three birds are all CONFIRMED Downy Woodpeckers. Look how different the bills look.

7231036732_7d7f65b5f0.jpgdowny on suet by midgetinvasion, on Flickr

5408583522_eddffb3bfc.jpgWoodpecker on tree by midgetinvasion, on Flickr

4362576365_62ede6f2c8.jpgwoodpecker by midgetinvasion, on Flickr

 

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