[CT Birds] Downy Woodpecker flight

pfavreau at cox.net pfavreau at cox.net
Wed Feb 27 15:45:32 EST 2013

>From Patrice Favreau:
I originally sent Paul this comment regarding Downy Woodpecker undulating flight pattern: As for flight pattern - not sure why - but I do know that pilots of fighter jets jink their planes rahter than fly straight-line,  to 
avoid attackers and/or missiles.... 

I have a possible better explanation: the flight pattern may be related to the fact that Woodpeckers land vertically, so they swoop downward then up & land usually on tree trunks. Supporting this idea is something I observed while surveying cavity nesting birds in Montana.  A telltale clue for a passerine, like a Bluebird, approaching a nest tree/snag was the unusual - for them - way they'd fly to it: they would swoop down & up - to land vertically at the nest hole.(as opposed to flying straight to perch/sit on a horizontal branch) . just a thought

Regarding Downy Woodpecker plumage: my take is that they evolved plumage to 
mix/camouflage with the trees in wooded areas, not for bird feeders in open 

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