Woodpeckers are a fascinating kind of bird, and in North America alone, there are at least 17 distinct species. They are some of the most popular kinds of birds you may attract to your yard and feeders, in addition to songbirds. Since most woodpeckers do not migrate, you can keep them in your yard all year.
Woodpeckers are attracted to your yard for two reasons. Food and housing are two important needs. Woodpeckers are attracted to your yard with the help of providing the food they prefer or excellent places for them to nest.
HOW TO ATTRACT WOODPECKERS
1. OFFER SUET
Suet is the favorite meal of woodpeckers in their own backyards. Suet is a combination of fat and nuts, berries, or seeds. The best way to attract woodpeckers is by offering them a high-energy treat. Suet is also enjoyed by many other backyard birds, including titmice, chickadees, wrens, and blue jays. Suet comes in a variety of forms, sizes, and consistencies.
It can be soft and spread over a log or hard and fed from a cage. Feeding a square-shaped cake from a wire cage feeder is the most common method. Here are some of the most popular suet feeding options, as well as helpful tips.
- Birds Choice makes quality suet feeders with tail supports made of recycled plastic. Like a bicycle kickstand, woodpeckers balance themselves against trees with their tails. Tail rests on suet feeders are appreciated by these birds.
- It’s a trial and error process to figure out what suet to use. Nothing is 100% certain to appeal to all birds, but everyone pledges allegiance to a different brand. Yet, I’ve discovered that C&S brand cakes are highly appreciated, and the large Woodpecker Treat set is a fantastic option for most people.
- A cage feeder, ball feeder, and log feeder are included in the Ultimate Pack from Wildlife Sciences. For a wide range of feeding options, this is the ultimate starter pack. A terrific way to provide birds with multiple options and determine which kind will suit your yard best.
2. FEED A VARIETY BIRDSEED MIX
Woodpeckers may either hit or miss Birdseed. Millet, thistle, and milo are popular filler seeds in most mixes, but they aren’t interested in them. Some kinds of bird seed, such as black oil sunflower, will be eaten. Peanuts, other oily nuts, cracked corn, dried berries and fruits are what they prefer. Many companies, including Walgreens, offer a woodpecker blend that includes seeds, nuts, and fruit pieces. Woodpeckers are more likely to come back for more if you provide them a variety of foods.
3. USE VERTICAL OR PLATFORM FEEDERS
Most conventional bird feeders are avoided by woodpeckers. Since some woodpeckers are too huge to access the seed, they can’t do it. They’re also suited for ascending and descending tree trunks, for example. On tiny feeder perches, it may be challenging for them to balance. Platform feeders and vertical feeders are the best kinds of feeders for woodpeckers (excluding suet feeders).
Flatt, open trays are used as platform feeders. With a platform feeder, you can feed practically anything. Since there is enough space for bigger birds to cling, perch, and move about, they are ideal for them. A hook or a pole can be used to support platform feeders. The hanging Woodlink Going Green Platform Feeder is a fantastic place to begin.
Tall, tube-shaped feeders are known as vertical feeders. Woodpeckers will only eat from a wire cage that is the outer layer, rather than perch like other birds. Woodpeckers can feed vertically on these, which is perfect for them since they are used to doing it on trees. This is only suitable for shelled peanuts or enormous seeds since it is a wire mesh feeder. Pay attention to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This basic model, the Gray Bunny Premium Steel Sunflower & Peanut Feeder, is a good buy. The Squirrel Buster Peanut+Squirrel-proof Bird Feeder w/Woodpecker Friendly Tail Prop is a good option if you want some squirrel protection.
4. SET UP A WOODPECKER HOUSE
Cavity nesters include woodpeckers. As a result, these birds create their nests and lay eggs in the hollows of trees, typically through a hole. These holes are commonly made by woodpeckers, who are experts at wood chiseling. Because they cannot excavate them on their own with their tiny beaks, other cavity nesting birds such as nuthatches, chickadees, flycatchers, and wrens often use abandoned woodpecker holes to create nests. The holes cut by woodpeckers are utilized again and again by a variety of birds, and they provide several vital nesting sites for a variety of other bird species.
Some woodpeckers will use a man-made nest box even if they can dig their own holes. If they can find a “pre-made” space that they feel comfortable with, it takes less time and energy for them. To accommodate their bulk, woodpecker homes must be a certain size and have a certain sized entrance.
This is a fantastic location for the Coveside Woodpecker House. It’s designed for hairy, red-headed, and red-bellied woodpeckers, who are more prone to use a manufactured home than other species of woodpeckers. Squirrels and other predators are kept out of the hole by a slate predator guard that surrounds the entrance. Check out the Cornell Lab’s Nest Watch page for more information on different bird house specifications for various species.
If you already have other bird houses on your property, such as bluebird houses, I recommend not hanging woodpecker houses. Other nests’ eggs and young are occasionally taken by woodpeckers.
5. PLANT TREES THAT PROVIDE THEM WITH FOOD
Woodpeckers may be attracted by adding a little landscaping. Acorns are a favorite food of woodpeckers, who store them away for the winter. Oak trees are a favorite because they provide acorns. Pine trees, in addition to providing pine seeds and sap that woodpeckers like, are also beneficial because they provide year-round shelter. Cherry, holly, apple, dogwood, serviceberry, mulberry, elderberry, bayberry, grapes, hackberry and oranges are among the fruits-producing trees and shrubs that woodpeckers enjoy.
6. OFFER NECTAR FEEDERS
Sweet, syrupy nectar is actually enjoyable to some woodpeckers. I thought it was worth mentioning that while suet, seeds, and nuts are a much better way to attract woodpeckers, they are not recommended. Hummingbird feeders with reasonably big sized drinking port holes for the woodpecker to get their beak and/or tongue into are good places to start if you want to feed woodpeckers nectar. My nectar feeder has been used mostly by hummingbirds for a few years, and I’ve often seen Downy woodpeckers drinking from it (see my short video below). The Aspects Hummzinger is the feeder in the video.
7. LEAVE DEADWOOD SNAGS
A tree might break in half or lose its top and branches when it dies or is in the process of dying. As a result, a deadwood snag or standing deadwood is formed. Standing deadwood is favorite snack of most woodpeckers. For woodpeckers to nest, build nests, and forage in many places, it is a essential component of a healthy ecosystem. Only deadwood can be used to build some woodpecker species’ nests.
You’ll almost certainly want to cut down a dead tree on your property. Consider doing a partial removal if you don’t want to risk a dead tree or limbs falling on your home. But keep the bottom portion standing, despite the fact that it poses a safety risk. The insects that help breakdown dead wood will be foraged by woodpeckers. Creating nest and shelter holes in dead wood is also much easier for them than creating nest and shelter holes in live wood.
ENJOY YOUR WOODPECKERS!
For being destructive, woodpeckers are sometimes given a bad rap. If they believe you have some tasty bugs in your siding, they may create some fairly enormous holes in your home’s side. These birds, on the other hand, are lovely to look at and feed. If you’re having severe issues with woodpeckers, check out our blog post on how to keep them away. However, coexisting with them peacefully is possible, and I hope this article has provided some tips for how to enjoy them in your yard.