They are perhaps nature's most wonderful creatures perched high atop mountains or hidden deep within dense forest: the birds of Canada The celebration of these winged wonders continues with four new Birds of Canada stamps and two exquisitely designed pre-stamped envelopes. This year's issue captures the beauty of four birds: the great crested flycatcher, the Eastern Screech-owl, the gray-crowned rosy-finch and the hairy woodpecker.
The hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus) can be found across Canada year-round, in wooded area south of the tree line. Despite its name, this bird has no hair. It earned its title from the long, silky hair-like feathers found on its back. Males have a narrow, not always visible bar of red on their nape, which accents their black and white plumage. Never present in large numbers, hairy woodpeckers live surrounded by trees in both coniferous and deciduous forest, urban parks and open areas with trees. They are true team players; males and females work together to excavate nests and incubate eggs. After mating, they take turns hollowing out a cavity in the trunks of living or dead trees - an arduous task that produce a hole measuring about six inches wide and 16 inches deep. Once the female has laid her eggs, both parents incubate them for two weeks and both feed the fledglings after they have hatched. The hairy woodpecker feeds mostly on insect larvae that burrow into trees, catching its prey by pecking into the bark with its strong chisel-like bill. Woodpeckers can apparently detect prey under the bark or in the wood itself by listening for sound or by sensing vibrations Beyond larvae, the hairy woodpecker eats other insects and worms as well as fruit, seeds, beechnuts, acorns and corn.