The birds of Woodpeckers are stunning and unusual. If you go for a walk in the woods and hear them drumming on trees or see them digging holes in tree trunks, then you’ve come across them. Vermont has eight different species of woodpeckers. We’ll learn about each species and when they can be found in Vermont in this article. A few woodpecker attractant ideas are included at the conclusion of the article.
8 SPECIES OF WOODPECKERS IN VERMONT
Downy woodpecker, hairy woodpecker, northern flicker, pileated woodpecker, red-headed woodpecker, red-bellied woodpecker, yellow-bellied sapsucker and black-backed woodpeckers make up Vermont’s eight species of Woody Woodpecocks.
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 may be found all year in Vermont, wherever you go. They’re almost ubiquitous in the United States, save for a few exceptions. They are the tiniest woodpeckers in North America, with a body length of just over a half inch.
The white dots on the downy’s backs, as well as their pure white chest and belly, distinguish them from other birds. A crimson patch on the back of a male’s head
The most common woodpecker species that visits bird feeders in the backyard is the downy. They enjoy suet, as well as sunflower seeds, millet, and peanuts. Hummingbirds may be seen at your hummingbird feeder, where their tiny beak enables them to sip 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
You might be perplexed as to whether this picture depicts another downy woodpecker. They do not resemble each other, yet they do seem similar. Downy woodpeckers and hairy woodpeckers are both found across the United States. when you’re trying to figure out which is which, it creates a lot of ambiguity.
In comparison to its body size, the hairy woodpecker is substantially bigger and has a longer beak. You can learn how to differentiate between them here.
In terms of habitat and diet, these two woodpeckers are rather comparable. They’re found all year in Vermont, particularly in the spring. While they will visit backyard suet feeders, the hairy woodpecker is more retiring than the downy woodpecker and tends to be a little more retiring of people.
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 United States, these medium-sized woodpeckers may be found in gardens quite often. They’re one of the most vibrant birds in North America, in my opinion.
Unlike other woodpeckers, Flickers prefer to find insects on the ground rather than in trees, and they feed mainly on them. The black spots on their bellies, solid black bib, 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 variety of the bird can be found in Vermont, and its feathers on the underside of its wings and tail are bright yellow.
Throughout the year, southern flickers can be found throughout the state, and suet may attract them to your property.
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 Vermont, as well as North America, the pileated woodpecker is the biggest of all woodpeckers. The body is black, the face has white stripes, and the crest is huge. Females do not have a red cheek stripe, whereas males do.
The state is home to pileated woodpeckers, but the northern half has a greater population.
Look for mature forests if you want to see a pileated woodpecker. They prefer rotting wood on ancient, dead trees. While they are less common guests than other species and often are too big for all but the biggest suet feeder, pileated woodpeckers may occasionally 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 head and black and white color-blocked body distinguish it from other species. They’re less common house guests than other types of woodpeckers, but they do visit suet feeders on occasion. They will eat nuts, fruits, and even suet in addition to suet.
Acorns and beech nuts are among the few foods that woodpeckers store in caches for future use, and they are one of just four species that do so. These woodpeckers go even farther, covering the food with bark or wood to better conceal their store.
In Vermont, these woodpeckers are only a rare sight. They’re most often seen during the breeding season and are most frequently seen along the state’s western edge.
6. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Melanerpes carolinus
- Length: 9.4 in
- Weight: 2.0-3.2 oz
- Wingspan: 13.0-16.5 in
You may initially see their bright red stripe along the back of their heads, as well as their heavily barred black and white wings, despite being labeled as “red-bellied.” Their breast is simply white, although their lower belly section is pinkish-red, which is normally not visible.
The tongue of a red-bellied woodpecker can protrude out almost 2 inches from its beak. They may lash their tongue out to capture insects from difficult to access areas with a barbed end and adhesive spit.
Vermont is commonly seen in their range, particularly in the southern and western sections of the state, despite the fact that it isn’t technically part of it. At feeders and in backyards, these medium-sized woodpeckers are fairly common. Nuts and suet will attract them.
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
During the breeding season, the yellow-bellied sapsucker may be found in Vermont. Look for them to return in May from their wintering grounds in the southern United States. Mexico and the rest of the world.
They have a yellow wash on their white feathers and a red stripe across the top of their head, which makes them look similar to the downy woodpecker at first glance. A red throat will be seen in both sexes.
Since sap is their primary food source, they aren’t often seen at bird feeders. They use their long tongues to drill holes into maple, elm, aspen, and birch trees and collect sap. The presence of a group of little holes on a tree trunk is clear evidence. They will eat a wide range of insects, some of which get stuck in the sticky sap around their wells, in addition to sap.
8. BLACK-BACKED WOODPECKER
- Scientific name: Picoides arcticus
- Length: 9.1 in
- Weight: 2.1-3.1 oz
- Wingspan: 15.8-16.5 in
Between the ages of 1 to 8, black-backed woodpeckers are most often seen in burnt woods. In woodlands where wildfires had ravaged, their solid black plumage helps them blend in with scorched trees.
These burnt areas attract black-backed woodpeckers, who can live in them for years and feast on the larvae of wood-boring beetles and other insects.
It’s unclear how these woodpeckers find burnt woods, but they may appear just weeks after a fire. Like the American three-toed woodpecker, this species has only three toes. They’ll also forage in unburned woods, following the movements of bark beetle populations.
They aren’t particularly frequent in Vermont, although they do visit on occasion, particularly in the northeast. Any time of year, especially in areas where fires have occurred recently, look for them.
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
Anyone who enjoys watching birds in their backyard wants to attract as many different species as possible. Woodpeckers may be a bit more difficult to attract and prefer more particular foods than many songbirds. Here are a few suggestions for making your yard more appealing to woodpeckers.
- Many kinds of woodpeckers are bold enough to visit feeders, so offer them food they like. Suet is the best food for attracting woodpeckers, although other species will eat seeds and nuts. Make sure to get a suet feeder with a tail prop section that helps draw bigger woodpecker species.
- Woodpeckers adore dead and dying trees that are simple to bore holes into, as well as providing them with plenty of bug larvae. Leave dead trees alone.
- Species like the northern flicker and pileated woodpecker have been known to use nest boxes, so put them up if you have them.
- Woodpeckers like fruits and berries such as dogwood, serviceberry, tupelo, mountain ash, strawberry, cherry, grapes, bayberry, holly, blueberries, and mulberry. Plant native fruit bearing plants and trees to attract them.
- Woodpeckers will take advantage of bird baths, just like other birds, so make sure there’s a water source available, such as with a water mover or solar fountain to help attract them.