Answer to February Quiz:
The distinctive black and white colouring and stiff looking tail feathers are good clues that this is a woodpecker. But which one? There are two species that are distinguished by their white backs and relatively unmarked flanks - Hairy and Downy. Usually, the best clue for distinguishing these two woodpeckers is bill length, but the bill is not visible in this photo. They differ in size with Hairy being larger overall, but size is hard to gauge in this photo with nothing for comparison. Both species can often be found foraging along branches, so this doesn't help either. Take a closer look at the outer tail feathers. Downy Woodpeckers usually have dark bars on their outer tail feathers (some Pacific populations of Hairy Woodpeckers can also have this feature, but this bird was photographed here in Muskoka), and if you look closely at the outer right tail feather on this bird you can see a small dark bar. This male Downy Woodpecker (males have red nape patches) was photographed as it foraged along the Henry Marsh - Lagoon Trail.