There are several kinds of woodpeckers who reside in our neck of the woods and we have learned that two are very similar. In fact, it seems the main difference is in the length of their beak and their willingness to visit feeders provided by humans.
The Downy woodpecker is small (about 6 inches) and has the shorter beak and will engage with a suet cage from time to time. And low and behold, on the day of the National Christmas Bird Count (not actually held on Christmas, but during the month of December), this one paid a visit to our new suet cage so this little one actually got counted.
I’ve seen the Hairy Woodpecker visit the trees near our house and it’s beak it distinctively longer and is a bit bigger than the Downy (about 9 inches or so), and we honestly weren’t sure until the little Downy decided to visit the same tree at the same time and you really could tell them apart.
But here is a photo I took of the Downy on our suet cage and the beginning of a painting.