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 Downy Woodpecker

Status in Michigan

Early Spring Date

Late Fall Date
Note: Early and Late Dates are being researched.
Image Credits
Count totals in the NMB Databases for Downy Woodpecker.

Use the links below to view the Downy Woodpecker reports in the respective databases.
If there are zero sightings for a particular season, that database will return no results.

Active Database - Spring 2005
View Downy Woodpecker sightings.
Downy Woodpecker Archives Reports
Fall 2003 268
Spring 2003 134
Winter 02-03 108
Fall 2002 106
Summer 2002 19
Spring 2002 183
Winter 01-02 122
Fall 2001 118
Summer 2001 47
Spring 2001 153
Winter 00-01 239
Fall 2000 114
Summer 2000 34
Spring 2000 109
Winter 00-99 221
Fall 1999 97
Spring/Summer 1999 22

NMB Database
Seasonal Percentage Graph
For: Downy Woodpecker

Whitefish Point Bird Observatory
Active Database - Fall 2003
View Fall 2003 sightings.
Whitefish Point Bird Observatory Official Seasonal Count Summaries for the Downy Woodpecker
Fall 1999-Spring 2002
Downy Woodpecker
Note: Some species will not be present in the WPBO archives and will return no records.

Search "The Birds of Michigan" text.

Home - Foreword - Preface - Introduction - Hypothetical List - Literature Cited

Historical Text
The Birds of Michigan - by: Norman A. Wood
Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75

Dendrocopos pubescens medianus (Swainson)
Northern Downy Woodpecker (A.O.U. 1998: Downy Woodpecker)
U.M.M.Z. Animal Diversity Reference

Common resident.

First listed for Michigan by Sager (1839: 415).

Although the Downy Woodpecker is present in Michigan at all seasons, the winter population may be different from the summer population in a given locality. Leonard Wing (1940: 182-83) believes that there is an in-flux of more northern birds into the Upper Peninsula in winter. Eggs are usually found in May or the first week in June in the Lower Peninsula, and a week or 10 days later in the Upper Peninsula.

Lower Peninsula.-The species is listed regularly on Christmas-census counts in the Lower Peninsula. N. A. Wood (1922: 15-16) found it breeding in Berrien County, and F. W. Rapp (1931: 16) listed it as a permanent resident in Kalamazoo County. Walkinshaw has recorded nests with young from May 30 to June 21 in the vicinity of Battle Creek, Calhoun County; Swales has noted several nests in Wayne County, 1 with 5 eggs on May 18, 1902, and 1 with 4 young on May 26, 1901. The species has been seen on Charity Island, Huron County, during the breeding season by N. A. Wood (1911: 96) and also in Crawford County and vicinity (N. A. Wood and Frothingham, 1905: 47). Specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken in the summer from North Manitou and North Fox Islands, Leelanau County, and from Beaver Island, Charlevoix County. Van Tyne (1925:618) found the species on the mainland in Charlevoix County, and Blanchard and Nelson (MS of 1937) listed it as common in the vicinity of Cheboygan County.

Upper Peninsula.-In Chippewa County T. D. Hinshaw and R. A. MacMullan secured several specimens in the summer of 1938 on Drummond Island, although on Whitefish Point observers noted the species only in- frequently (N. A. Wood, 1914: 65; and others). Christofferson and Bryens (Blaney, Schoolcraft County, and McMillan, Luce County, respectively) have seen it throughout the year and have generally noted fledglings by the first of July. F. M. Gaige (1914: 81) found this woodpecker abundant in Dickinson County in 1909 and noted several nests with young in July. In the Huron Mountains, Marquette County, Ira N. Gabrielson observed a possible fall movement of the species in 1936, finding it "common" from September 21 to 23, but seeing only a few scattered individuals on the following 4 days. Leonard Wing (1940: 182-83), John L. George, and R. L. Patterson have observed the species in Iron and Gogebic counties during the summer, and N. A. Wood, Peet, and McCreary (1906: 115) found it present in the Porcupine Mountains, Ontonagon County, in July and August. Numerous specimens (U.M.M.Z.) have been taken from Isle Royale during the summer, and the species was observed on the island throughout the winter of 1936-37 by Laurence Dayton.

Dendrocopos pubescens nelsoni (Oberholser)
Nelson's Downy Woodpecker (A.O.U. 1998: Downy Woodpecker)

The majority of winter specimens from the Upper Peninsula are inter- mediate between Dendrocopos pubescens nelsoni and D. p. medianus, but 3 specimens in the Museum of Zoology are definitely referable to D. p. nelsoni: a male taken at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, May 20, 1936, by Brodkorb (1936 : 455) ; a female taken near McMillan, Luce County, January 17, 1932, by Leonard Wing; and a female taken near Watersmeet, Gogebic County, January 30, 1932, also by Leonard Wing.

Mueseum of Zoology, University of Michigan, No. 75
The Birds of Michigan
By: Norman A. Wood
University of Michigan Press
August 28, 2023

Digitized by: Keith F. Saylor
[email protected]

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