8 Species of Woodpeckers in Pennsylvania

Woodpeckers in Pennsylvania
Photo by Matt Drenth

The state of Pennsylvania is well-known for having a diverse range of climates, which attract a wide variety of animals due to its ability to meet their needs.

There are a total of eight different woodpeckers in Pennsylvania. Birds, in particular, spend considerable time in this beautiful state.

During the summer months, Pennsylvania is known to have high humidity and temperature levels, which attracts a wide variety of creatures that like to bask in the warmth and take advantage of the conditions.

However, this contrasts with the harsh and uncomfortable winters the region experiences, which sometimes force animals to migrate to warmer regions further south.

Let us explore 8 unique woodpeckers that call Pennsylvania Home.

1. Downy Woodpecker

  • Wingspan-3.27 to 4.13 inches
  • Weight-0.75 to 1 ounce
  • Life Expectancy-6 Years
  • Diet-Insects & Non-insect arthropods

The Downy Woodpecker is frequently mistaken for the Hairy Woodpecker’s smaller younger cousin. It has a black and white appearance, small in size, and has an extremely short lifespan.

Though the occasional Downy Woodpecker uses a nesting box, most are located exclusively in deadwood trees, where they prefer to nest. Because this woodpecker is nonmigratory, one can find it in the Pennsylvania area all year.

During the mating season, these birds are busier until the eggs hatch. They are well-known for their unconventional approach to co-parenting. If you find that the local Downy Woodpeckers have vanished, they may be spending time tending to their eggs.

Going out into nature is the only way to find these birds. Because they like to nest and hunt in deadwood, it is not surprising that they can be found deep within a forest.

The Downy Woodpecker is notable for spending its time clinging to deadwood and vigorously scavenging for insects. They can also frequently hop along the ground in search of berries and other tasty goodies.

2. Pileated Woodpecker

  • Wingspan-26 to 30 inches
  • Weight-8.8 to 14.1 ounces
  • Life Expectancy-13 years
  • Diet-Fruit, nuts & insects

The Pileated Woodpecker is a distinct bird whose trademark red feathers can identify on top of its head. With its vivid appearance, this woodpecker stands out quite a bit, making it simple to spot when they are actively flying around and tucked in a good tree.

The Pileated Woodpecker is well-known for its unusual dwellings, which it constructs by burrowing into tree cavities. What makes them unique is that they are known to construct several entrances to their nest site.

This particular species are one of the largest woodpeckers in Pennsylvania and also worldwide. Because they are active during the mating period, you can observe these birds more easily in the winter and early spring.

Witnessing these birds actively flying around and preparing a nesting site for probable partners is quite common.

These birds are usually found in forested areas in Pennsylvania. They also love woodland environments with various nesting places and a plentiful supply of excellent food.

The Pileated Woodpecker often flies over large open regions or fields in search of food. Their optimum habitat includes coniferous forests; therefore, this is a good spot to seek them.

3. Northern Flicker

  • Wingspan-21.3 inches
  • Weight=6 ounces
  • Life Expectancy-9 Years
  • Diet-Insects, seeds, nuts & fruit

The Northern Flicker is a beautiful bird recognized for its distinct appearance. This tiny bird has distinct patches with bright splashes of color, and The underside of their wings is metallic and lovely, so keep an eye out for them when birdwatching.

They have the common woodpecker feature of drumming on items to communicate with other woodpeckers, especially female woodpeckers, in the neighborhood. These birds are unique in that they share chores with their mates, feeding and raising the young on both sides.

The Northern Flicker is a popular and common bird visitor in Pennsylvania. Though this bird is notable for its migratory habit, it is also well-known for its long-term residency in Pennsylvania.

In fact, the Northern Flicker has become one of the most frequent woodpeckers in the state in recent decades.

This widespread species is constantly on the move, much to the joy of residents. One can find it all year, but this may vary depending on the season.

Because Northern Flickers are one of the most common types of woodpeckers in Pennsylvania, you can find them anywhere.

These birds are fairly widespread, especially in wooded locations where they may happily construct their nests. These unusual birds have been observed nesting in nearby trees and flying around in quest of food.

4. Black-backed Woodpecker

  • Wingspan-16 inches
  • Weight-2.5 ounces
  • Life Expectancy-8 Years
  • Diet-Wood-boring Beatles, fruit & nuts

The Black-Backed Woodpecker is a black and white woodpecker that is particularly fond of small deadwood trees. This woodpecker prefers to nest and forage in small deadwood trees and reside in regions with enough food.

Their habits of burrowing into these trees make them simpler to find if you know where to look, but their nests can be pretty hidden unless you look hard enough.

The Black-Backed Woodpecker is not a migratory bird. However, They tend to move if winter becomes too cold. These birds sometimes leave the trees and migrate to lower elevations to avoid the cold.

They are usually seen in April and May when looking for a new nest but can be spotted all year.

These birds are distinguished from other woodpeckers by their preference for staying put. Though they seek new nests each year, they are known to linger in the same place for extended periods due to their hunting style, which entails burrowing deep into dead trees to extract larvae.

One can find these birds anywhere there is deadwood. This is a trademark of their territory because it is where they hunt and dwell.

Though the Black-Backed Woodpeckers may occasionally nest on a living tree, they almost always prefer dead ones. They mainly stay in locations with a healthy balance of deadwood and live trees.

5. Red-bellied Woodpecker

  • Wingspan-15-18 inches
  • Weight-2.65 ounces
  • Life Expectancy-12 years
  • Diet-Insects

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker is an amusing bird with a somewhat perplexing name. Though this bird has a very noticeable and bright red head, its belly is quite unimpressive in comparison.

The Red-Bellied Woodpecker has a faint pink tint on its stomach. However, even this isn’t a good way to identify them because it is frequently covered when they cling to trees while hunting.

These birds are well-known for their monogamy and partnerships. The birds gather for mating and choose their nests as a partnership.

In Pennsylvania, you can see the Red-Bellied Woodpecker all year. These charming birds with colorful heads can be seen all year, although they are known to spend more time fluttering around during the mating season in winter.

Although the Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are not the most frequent woodpeckers in Pennsylvania, one can still find them in densely forested areas.

This bird enjoys wooded locations with lush vegetation and an abundant food source. Because these birds like to spend their time in regions where these meals are more readily available, they choose to spend their time there.

6. Hairy Woodpecker

  • Wingspan-15 inches
  • Weight-1.4 to 3.4 ounces
  • Life Expectancy-15 years
  • Diet-Wood-boring insects & tree sap

The Hairy Woodpecker is a cute little bird recognized for its high-pitched cry, made up of a distinctive combination of notes.

The Hairy Woodpecker is black and white, with a spherical form. Males can be distinguished by their distinctive splash of red, which distinguishes them from females, who are just black and white in hue.

When looking for a mate, they are known to sing songs and make traditional drumming sounds, making them relatively easy to spot if one is nearby.

The Hairy Woodpecker is a permanent resident of Pennsylvania, spending its time there all year. Though some of these birds may visit other attractive regions, the majority of them find Pennsylvania to be an excellent spot to remain, hunt, and nest.

They can be seen at any time of day, often low to the ground, snatching up excellent food in the neighborhood.

You should concentrate your search for these birds in forested areas. These birds prefer to spend their time in trees and severely wooded or swampy locations throughout Pennsylvania.

7. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

  • Wingspan-13 to 16 inches
  • Weight-1.5 to 1.9 ounces
  • Life Expectancy-7 years
  • Diet-Tree sap, insects & fruit

Though it may appear that the person who named this bird was mocking it, the fact that it has a yellow belly and does, in fact, sip sap from trees makes it a correct choice in naming.

Nesting is a unique process for this bird that usually is cared for by the male over the course of several weeks as they excavate a cavity for a nesting place.

The Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker is another kind of woodpeckers in Pennslyvania that does not always migrate. However, they often leave Pennsylvania for unknown reasons.

These birds will leave Pennsylvania during the non-breeding season in the fall in search of softer and warmer regions that will keep them safe.

Outside of this, One can find these birds throughout the year. Some may choose to travel only a short distance rather than leaving Pennsylvania totally.

These birds are easy to find in Pennsylvania if you know where to look because they are abundant in the state. These birds prefer to spend time near tree bark while slurping nutritious sap. They prefer wooded places but may be found in any yard occasionally.

8. Red-headed Woodpecker

  • Wingspan-16 inches
  • Weight-2.5 ounces
  • Life Expectancy-9 Years
  • Diet-Insects & Berries

The last mention on our list of woodpeckers in Pennsylvania is the Red-Headed Woodpecker, It has a gorgeous black and white body and a vivid red head, and one can quickly identify them by their gorgeous robin-like faces, which help to make them appear from a distance.

Almost any type of wooden structure can contain a cavity where these lovely birds will happily build their nests. Surprisingly, unlike most other Woodpeckers in Pennsylvania, they choose non-living wood for their nests rather than live trees.

The Red-Headed Woodpeckers are well-known woodpeckers in Pennsylvania for their short-distance migration habit. These birds will frequently burrow down in one spot for an extended period.

They routinely travel out into new regions in quest of something delicious to eat, depending on the time of year, temperature, and food supply.

In general, they will leave northern areas of a state in pursuit of warmer temperatures and more bugs. Because these birds like plant life and a plentiful supply of tasty bugs to eat, the forest is an excellent habitat for them.

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