While these two look alike and are both common visitors to feeders, the downy is a smaller version of the hairy. The easiest way to differentiate between the two species is the length of the bill in proportion to the head. On the hairy, it is substantial, appearing almost the same length as the head, whereas the downy’s bill is only about one-third of its head length. Both nest in tree cavities, so having some dead and dying trees around the property will help keep these birds around throughout the year. Woodpeckers are attracted to suet balls and peanut butter logs. A heavy-gauge metal silo feeder with shelled peanuts has also proven very attractive to downy woodpeckers.
Take a look through the photo gallery below to see some pictures contrasting the physical differences between these two species.