Woodpeckers are a fascinating and unusual species. When walking in the woods, you’re likely to encounter them drumming on trees or digging holes in tree trunks. In Ohio, you can expect to see seven different species of woodpeckers. We’ll learn about each species and when you can find them in the state in this article. A few suggestions on how to entice woodpeckers to your yard are provided at the end of the article.
7 SPECIES OF WOODPECKERS IN OHIO
Downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, pileated woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, and yellow-bellied sapsucker are the seven species of peckers found in Ohio.
1. DOWNY WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Dryobates pubescens
- Length: 5.5-6.7 in
- Weight: 0.7-1.0 oz
- Wingspan: 9.8-11.8 in
These little woodpeckers can be found year-round in Ohio. Almost all of the United States is covered in them. They are the smallest woodpeckers in North America, with a body length of 9.8 cm.
The white markings on the downy’s backs, as well as its pure white chest and belly, are the only ways to tell them apart. They are roughly the size of a sparrow. A red patch on the back of the male’s head is visible.
The most common woodpecker species seen at backyard bird feeders is the downy. They devour sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts in addition to suet. These tiny birds are known to visit your hummingbird feeder, where their little beak permits them access to the sugar water.
2. HAIRY WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Dryobates villosus
- Length: 7.1-10.2 in
- Weight: 1.4-3.4 oz
- Wingspan: 13.0-16.1 in
In this photograph, you might be wondering if you’re seeing another downy woodpecker. They do not resemble one another, but they do look similar. Downy and hairy woodpeckers coexist throughout the United States. When you’re trying to figure out which one is which, there’s a lot of ambiguity.
In comparison to its body size, the hairy woodpecker is substantially bigger and has a larger beak. You may learn how to distinguish between them using the information available here.
In terms of habitat and diet, these two woodpeckers are almost identical. Throughout Ohio, they can be found all year. The hairy woodpecker is more retiring than the downy woodpecker, and they will visit backyard suet feeders, although they aren’t as ubiquitous.
3. NORTHERN FLICKER
Scientific name: Colaptes auratus
Length: 11.0-12.2 in
Weight: 3.9-5.6 oz
Wingspan: 16.5-20.1 in
In the backyards of the United States, these medium-sized woodpeckers are quite common. They’re among some of the most colorful birds in North America, in my opinion.
Unlike other woodpeckers, flickers prefer to locate insects on the ground rather than in trees, and they eat primarily insects. The black markings on their bellies, a solid black bib, a red patch on the back of their necks, and barred black and gray wings will help you identify them. A black mustache appears on males.
The yellow-shafted kind of bird found in Ohio has brilliant yellow feathers on its underside of the wings and tail.
Throughout Ohio, summer is spent finding Northern Flickers, which may be attracted to your yard with suet.
4. PILEATED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Dryocopus pileatus
- Length: 15.8-19.3 in
- Weight: 8.8-12.3 oz
- Wingspan: 26.0-29.5 in
In Ohio and North America, the pileated woodpecker is the biggest of all woodpeckers. They have a large red crest and are black with a black and white striped face. The cheek stripe of males is red, but not in females.
Throughout the state, pileated woodpeckers may be found, although in the south they are more common.
Look for mature forests if you want to see a pileated woodpecker. They prefer rotting wood on old, dead trees. While they are less frequent visitors than other species and are typically too big for all but the largest suet feeder, pileated woodpeckers will sometimes visit backyard feeders.
5. RED-HEADED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Melanerpes erythrocephalus
- Length: 7.5-9.1 in
- Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
- Wingspan: 16.5 in
The red-headed woodpecker’s crimson, color-blocked body and crimson head distinguish it immediately. They can be found at suet feeders from time to time, but they’re less common back yard guests than other woodpeckers. They’ll devour almonds and fruits in addition to suet.
Acorns and beech nuts are one of only four types of woodpeckers that store their provisions for future use, the other three being black-backed woodpeckers. These woodpeckers go a step further by covering the food with bark or wood to make it more difficult for predators to see.
They may be more scarce in the southeastern section of the state outside of the winter months, but you can find them across Ohio all year.
6. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
- Length: 9.4 in
- Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
- Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
The red-bellied woodpecker may be found throughout Ohio and much of the eastern United States year-round. In backyards and feeders, these medium-sized woodpeckers are quite common. Suckers and bigger nuts will draw them in.
The vivid crimson stripe down the back of their heads, as well as their heavily barred black and white wings, are the first things you’ll notice about them. They feature a plain white breast with a pinkish-red patch in the middle of their belly, which is usually concealed.
The tongue of a red-bellied woodpecker is nearly two inches long when stretched out. They can lash their tongue out to snare insects from hard to reach places with a barbed end and sticky spit.
7. YELLOW-BELLIED SAPSUCKER
- Scientific name: Sphyrapicus varius
- Length: 7.1-8.7 in
- Weight: 1.5-1.9 oz
- Wingspan: 13.4-15.8 in
The yellow-bellied sapsucker’s summer range is to the north, while their winter range is to the south. As a result, the best time to sight them is during their migration seasons in the spring and fall.
They have a yellow wash on their white feathers and a red stripe across the top of their head, which makes them look like the downy woodpecker at first glance. Males will also have a crimson neck.
Since sap is their primary food source, they aren’t common at bird feeders. Sap is collected with their long tongues after they drill holes into maple, elm, aspen, and birch trees. The presence of these holes is indicated by a row of them on a tree trunk. They’ll also eat a range of insects, some of which get stuck in the sticky sap near their wells, in addition to sap.
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
Those of us who enjoy strolling through our gardens to see bird species want to attract as many as possible. Woodpeckers may be a bit trickier to entice and prefer more particular foods than many songbirds, yet they are quite simple to attract with birdseed. To make your yard more appealing to woodpeckers, here are a few suggestions.
- Many types of woodpeckers are courageous enough to visit feeders, so offer them food they enjoy. Suet is the finest food for luring woodpeckers, however other species will consume seeds and nuts. Make sure to purchase a suet feeder with a tail prop area that will help draw bigger woodpecker species.
- Woodpeckers prefer dead and dying trees with plenty of insect larvae for them to devour. Leave dead trees alone.
- Northern flickers and pileated woodpeckers, for example, have been known to build nests in nest boxes.
- Woodpeckers may occasionally enjoy fruits and berries like dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, hollyberries and blueberries. Plant native fruit-bearing plants and trees.
- Woodpeckers will utilize bird baths, just like any other birds, so have a water source accessible, preferably with a water mover or solar fountain to assist draw them in.