One of the best times to see the downy woodpecker is in the winter when the leaves are off the trees. You'll have an easier time spotting this critter as it hops along tree trunks looking for food. The downy woodpecker is a relative of the larger hairy woodpecker. Both birds have a characteristic white stripe down their back. But the downy woodpecker is a couple inches smaller than the hairy, measuring about 6 inches. The best way to tell them apart is by looking at the bird's bill. The hairy has a longer bill in relation to its head. And, the downy is a smaller bird with a ladder of black bands on its outer white tail feathers. Both are common year-round residents in Wisconsin.
Woodpeckers like suet in winter feeders.