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Hairy Woodpecker? Sacramento, California


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I get both downy and hairy woodpeckers regularly here in Kansas.  Easiest way to tell the difference is the size. My bird book lists hairy as 9 1/4 inches long and the downy as 6 3/4 long. I see no red hindcrown spot , so I would say it is female. I don't know how long the needles are in the evergreen "pine tree I am guessing" , but they appear about the length of your bird. On your 5th and 6th picture I think i see black bars or spots on the outer tail feathers ,if it isn't tree bark I see. That would make it a downy. If you could measure the needles , I believe you could identify it that way.

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9 minutes ago, BioAnderson said:

If you could measure the needles , I believe you could identify it that way.

Awesome point, thanks for bringing that up! The pine it is on is a Pinus sabiniana, which, according to Wikipedia has a needle length of 8-12 inches. The bird is larger than the smaller needles, which would make it around nine to ten inches in length. 

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10 hours ago, lonesome55dove said:

I'm sure hearing aids would be a big help but I haven't taken the plunge yet! 

You'd think so but in at least one way, they're not.  You can definitely hear calls better, but almost everything else gets louder too.  And with mine, I can't tell what direction the bird is calling from.  That may be just an effect of the combination of my hearing loss and how my aids are set for normal daily hearing.  Since I'm not good with calls anyway and still value seeing them more, I want to be able to use their sounds to find them, so I usually don't wear mine when birding.

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On 1/30/2021 at 11:03 PM, Aidan B said:

Awesome point, thanks for bringing that up! The pine it is on is a Pinus sabiniana, which, according to Wikipedia has a needle length of 8-12 inches. The bird is larger than the smaller needles, which would make it around nine to ten inches in length. 

That would make it a Hairy. 

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