I love to sit and watch the birds at my feeders One of my favorite sites to see are woodpeckers. Yes, you can attract woodpeckers to your yard. There are some treats that they love. Read on to learn how. They can then join the blue birds and cardinals.
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What Do Woodpeckers Like to Eat?
From my personal experience in watching them out my window in Montana my answer would be suet. Here in Vermont as I live in a more urban environment I haven’t yet seen any woodpeckers at our feeders and I am sure that is because they like living in and nesting around trees.
Woodpeckers like to eat bugs, I know that. It’s pretty much why they peck. They are digging for bugs in the tree. When they come to a feeder they will enjoy a protein rich peanut suet and they are also very fond of the suet with the bugs in it. There is also a special woodpecker suet you can stick in holes in trees!
I am sure if you put mealworms out they would not say no to such a high protein snack.
What Type of Feeder is Best?
Since woodpeckers are looking for a fast and easy bug dinner and the best delivery method for that -unless you are putting out a platform feeder full of mealworms – is a suet feeder. This gives them a tasty (?) bug surrounded by high calorie fat to help them maintain their energy levels.
Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers are also up for a bit of fruit now and then and if you are growing berries or fruit trees don’t be surprised to find them in your yard when things start to ripen. So these little almost twins will be attracted to suet with fruit or to fruit in a feeder. But do not let the fruit get old and moldy. This is harmful to the birds.
Northern Flickers will eat just about anything you want to put out. They love bugs, fruit, seed, suet.
They will enjoy berries, grapes and melon but again – do not leave it out long enough to mold as this would be harmful to them. Suet is also a treat as I mentioned above. Especially in colder weather when they need extra energy.
A Source of Water
Providing a water source for the birds is always a good thing to do. Especially as conditions are changing in so many places and things are getting drier. It gives them a place to get a drink, to cool off and to wash up. There are a number of different types of bird fountains but I highly recommend that if you are going to put one in that you get one with a mechanism to move the water about in some way.
A fountain with a sprayer or that well, fountains will much better than one that is just standing water when it comes to mosquitoes. You do not want to put in a mosquito breeding area. While there are some birds that eat mosquitoes you do not have to add more into the environment for them – there are plenty to be found. At least in my humble opinion.
All Year ‘Round
Many of the familiar woodpeckers – at least those in Vermont – do not migrate so if you are in an area of the United States that has them you probably have them all year ’round. Here that includes the Hairy, Downy, Piliated and the Northern Flicker among others. If you visit the All About Birds site from Cornell Labs (linked below) you can view the range maps for the various types of woodpeckers (and more):
It brings me such joy to see these beautiful birds at the feeders we have in our yard. I will look forward to seeing them as the seasons change and I experience my first full year here in Vermont. I hope these tips I have given you will help you bring these vibrant and entertaining birds to your yard.
If you can’t put feeders out and you still want to watch the birds you can tune into the Cornell Feeder Watch Cam