After 12 days in an egg, about a month in the nest cavity, and only a couple days hanging around with parents outside the nest, these two immature Hairy Woodpeckers are discovering the world on their own now.
Immature female Hairy Woodpecker on Bark Butter feeder (digiscoped image)
I saw my first Hairy Woodpecker fledgling of the year - perhaps this female - being fed by a parent just 3 days ago. I've watched these young birds make some clumsy landings on a wire, in a tree and on the feeders. I saw both of them fluttering as they learned that they can't land on the side of a baffle (it kinda looks like a tree trunk, doesn't it??). I saw the female get spooked off a wire by a much smaller Downy Woodpecker.
The young birds are bright and white, unruffled, already about full size, and look healthy and well-fed. Their parents are looking a bit worn, a little less-than-white, ruffled, a little skinny. All those trips in and out of the nest hole put a lot of wear-and-tear on feathers. It takes a lot out of a parent (bird or human) to raise a brood.
Immature male Hairy Woodpeckers have red on the TOP of their head versus the back of the head of the adult male. This young male's red is just barely there at all. By later this summer, it will be on the back of the head and probably a lot brighter.
Look for these characteristics to help you identify immature Hairy (as well as Downy) Woodpeckers. Then enjoy their youthful behaviors and watching them learn to survive in the big wide world!