Is there anybody who doesn’t enjoy watching woodpeckers in a garden or yard? Woodpeckers are beautiful and fascinating, found throughout the United States, Canada, and the UK. These birds are usually available in dense wooden and suburban areas.
They mainly feed on insects by excavating trees. As they try to stay in a specific region all over the year, you can find them year-round. Now, the question is how to attract woodpeckers to your yard. Here are some techniques you can follow.
- Tempt with the Right Treats.
- Use Woodpecker Specific Feeders.
- Offer Water to Drink and Bathe.
- Provide a Bowl of Water in Winter.
- Install the Right Birdhouse.
- Keep Your Birdhouse Clean.
- Don’t Cut Dead Trees.
- Build Nest Boxes.
- Make a Woodpecker-Friendly Landscape.
- Place a Roosting Box in Winter.
Apart from that, you can attract woodpeckers by creating a perching space for them. Since there are many woodpecker species out there, you cannot attract all the species but specific species available in your region.
So, let’s jump right in.
To Read More About Birds:
Do Woodpeckers Get Headaches? [Read more]
How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers Pecking Your House? [Read more]
How To Attract Bluebirds? [Read more]
What Do Bluebirds Eat? [Read more]
What Do Woodpeckers Eat? [Read more]
How Do You Attract Woodpeckers?
There are plenty of techniques out there to attract various woodpecker species to your yard or garden. In this article, we’re going to discuss the top 10 best methods that help you be successful in attracting woodpeckers.
1. Tempt With the Right Treats
Woodpeckers love to eat suet, peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, peanut butter, mealworms, and various fruits. They also eat acorns, cracked corn, sap, pine seeds, and various insects. If you attract woodpeckers to your yard, you should offer them these treats.
#Suet: Suet is hard fat found around beef and mutton. As most woodpeckers love to eat suet, it can be an excellent way to entice them to your yard. You can offer suet to the woodpeckers directly from the butcher, or purchase suet cakes from stores.
You can also prepare suet by yourself. In this case, mix other foods with suet in a blend. For example, to make a suet cake, you can mix chopped grapes with the suet, surrounded with berries, peanuts, and black oil sunflower seeds.
Don’t feed woodpeckers suet during summer. The suet you offer can melt and coat on woodpeckers’ wings. As summer months are ideal for incubating eggs, melted suet can badly clog on eggshells, preventing oxygen from reaching the embryo.
#Peanuts: Most woodpeckers love to eat peanuts. These are relatively inexpensive feed options. Whether you offer shelled or unshelled peanuts to woodpeckers, they will gobble up the peanuts as delicious snacks. Make sure to provide woodpeckers with unsalted peanuts.
#Black Oil Sunflower Seeds: Among plenty of woodpecker species, downy and hairy woodpeckers love to eat black oil sunflower seeds. If you don’t want to attract only these two species, offer cracked corn and pine seeds with the black oil sunflower seeds.
#Peanut Butter: To attract woodpeckers, there is an easy, hassle-free way. Attach peanut butter directly to the tree trunks, or purchase a log feeder and put peanut butter into the predrilled holes.
#Fruits: Most woodpeckers happily eat various fruits, such as apples, oranges, grapes, etc. If you want to attract woodpeckers, offer these fruits to them in your backyard. These fruits contain a lot of nutrients, which is essential for their health.
#Mealworms: Mealworms are the beetle larvae used as delicious food for birds. If you are willing to attract woodpeckers to your yard, tempt them with mealworms in deep feeders so that they cannot crawl out.
2. Use Woodpecker Specific Feeders
To offer various foods to woodpeckers, you need to place woodpecker specific feeders in your yard. Consider using suet feeders, hopper feeders, platform feeders, or nectar feeders. Therefore, you can easily entice woodpeckers to your yard.
#Suet Feeders: If you want to attract woodpeckers, you can put out suet feeders with suet mixed with various fruits all-year-round. You can also provide them with suet cakes in wire cages. Make sure to hang upside-down feeders to discourage invasive birds, like starlings.
#Hopper Feeders: As woodpeckers are tree-clinging birds, and hopper feeders are vertical, these feeders can play a vital role in attracting woodpeckers by giving them easy access. Hang a hopper feeder filled with unsalted peanuts, black oil sunflower seeds, and other oily seeds.
#Platform Feeders: To entice woodpeckers with cracked corn, raisins, and chopped fruits, platform feeders are the best. These feeders can also be used to serve various nuts and berries. Due to the platform design, woodpeckers can easily perch on them while having foods.
#Nectar Feeders: Similar to hummingbirds, woodpeckers love to drink nectar. So, you can attract them to your backyard by hanging a nectar feeder. Make sure that the feeder ports are large enough, as woodpeckers’ bills are larger than those of hummingbirds.
3. Offer Water to Drink and Bathe
Similar to other birds, woodpeckers need water to drink and bathe. If you provide them with a birdbath in your yard, they can drink water and bathe anytime. As woodpeckers prefer isolated birdbaths, make sure to place a ground-level bath in a shady area.
The birdbath basin should be relatively shallow, 1½ to 2 inches deep. Try positioning a small fountain or a dripper so that woodpeckers can always get water. You may set low perches around the birdbath to entice woodpeckers to use it.
4. Provide a Bowl of Water in Winter
During cold winter months, your birdbath and fountain might get covered with heavy ice. As a result, woodpeckers won’t be able to drink and bathe. When ice starts forming, provide woodpeckers with a bowl of water. Change the water if you notice ice forming.
5. Install the Right Birdhouse
Providing a birdhouse to the woodpeckers is an excellent way to attract them to your yard. This way, you can preserve the trees you want to protect from woodpeckers’ pecking. The birdhouse should have 1 and a half inch entrance hole.
It should also come with a hinged lid and a 9 to 15 inches deep cavity. Once you have bought such a birdhouse, mount it 10 to 20 feet above the ground. To keep the birdhouse safe, you can put a few wood chips inside the birdhouse.
6. Keep Your Birdhouse Clean
Woodpeckers usually don’t feel attracted to a dirty birdhouse because used birdhouses may have mites, fleas, and lice. These uncleaned birdhouses can spread various diseases. Before every nesting season, you should keep your birdhouse clean for woodpeckers.
Make a solution of 10% chlorine bleach and 90% water and spray the mixture to your used birdhouse. Change the wood chips with new ones right before the following nesting season. Make sure to have a birdhouse that has a hinged lid for easier cleaning.
7. Don’t Cut Dead Trees
Many woodpeckers prefer dead trees because they can be a good source of food and shelter. If you have a few dead trees in your yard, consider keeping them for the woodpeckers. And avoid using much insecticide and pesticide to keep the insects alive.
Thanks to keeping the dead trees, you cannot only invite woodpeckers to your yard but also attract other cavity-nesting birds, like owls, tree swallows, nuthatches, and chickadees to the excavated cavities made by woodpeckers.
8. Build Nest Boxes
Offering nest boxes is one of the excellent ways to attract woodpeckers. If you don’t have a dead tree in your garden, you can purchase a nest box for woodpeckers from the market, build a nice one by yourself, or improvise it with a piece of wood.
Once you have a nest box for the woodpeckers, make sure to hang it about 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 meters) above the ground so that predators, such as bobcats, coyotes, foxes, snakes, and hawks, cannot reach the nest box.
9. Make a Woodpecker-Friendly Landscape
To attract woodpeckers to your yard, you need to make a woodpecker-friendly landscape by planting trees that produce nuts and berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, dogwood, tupelo, mountain ash, cherries, etc.
Since woodpeckers enjoy eating acorns, you can plant oak trees in your yard. You can also plant pine trees for sap, nuts, and pine seeds. Not only do these trees provide food, but they also allow woodpeckers to take shelter.
10. Place a Roosting Box in Winter
During winter months, placing a roosting box in your yard is quite essential to help woodpeckers survive harsh weather. You can buy a roost box or build a beautiful one by yourself. Make sure that your roost box should have ventilation and drainage holes.
Woodpecker Species You Can Attract
Over 200 woodpecker species are out there in today’s world. Around 20 woodpecker species are permanent or frequent residents in United States and Canada, and some other species found in Europe, especially in the UK.
Now, you might be wondering what woodpecker species you can attract. It entirely depends on where you live. Let’s talk about where most common woodpecker species that you may encounter are usually available.
Woodpeckers Found in the USA & Canada
- #Downy Woodpeckers: The feathers of Downy Woodpeckers are formed with white and black. In some regions of Canada and across the United States, these woodpeckers are usually found. Typically, these birds enjoy eating suet from upside-down suet feeders.
- #Hairy Woodpeckers: Apart from the longer beak, the Hairy Woodpeckers are same as the Downy Woodpeckers in appearance. You can mainly find these woodpeckers all over the United States, in some regions of Canada, and as far south as Mexico. They usually don’t eat anything from feeders.
- #Northern Flickers: The Northern Flickers have red and yellow spots covered with unique black markings. These birds are usually found throughout North America, especially down to Central America. They eat insects from the ground but are not willing to have anything from feeders.
- #Pileated Woodpeckers: The Pileated Woodpeckers are large-sized birds like a crow. Near the throat, these woodpeckers have black color with white lines and a red crest. If you’re a resident in the Eastern United States, you may see the birds, which hardly eat anything from feeders.
- #Red-Headed Woodpeckers: If you live in the Eastern United States, you may see the Red-Headed Woodpeckers, which are among the rarest woodpecker species. Their diet includes small birds, small rodents, nuts, seeds, fruits, and berries.
- #Red Bellied Woodpeckers: Similar to Pileated and Red-Headed Woodpeckers, the Red Bellied Woodpeckers are mainly available in the Eastern United States. These woodpeckers have a bright red belly and head with a black body. They eat suet and nuts from suet and hopper feeders.
- #Lewis’s Woodpeckers: The Lewis’s Woodpeckers are medium-sized birds that usually have a dark red face, a pink belly, and a gray chest. They’re one of the rarest species found in the western United States. They mainly eat insects from tree surfaces.
- #Red-Naped Sapsuckers: Like the Lewis’s Woodpeckers, the Red-Naped Sapsuckers are one of the rarest species found in the western United States, especially the down areas near the Rocky Mountains. They mainly eat sap from willow trees and some other trees.
Woodpeckers Found in Europe, Especially the UK
- #European Green Woodpeckers: If you live in Europe, especially the UK, you may encounter the European Green Woodpeckers. These woodpeckers are usually found in small villages and towns. They have white bellies, green rear parts, and red on the heads.
- #Great Spotted Woodpeckers: Like European Green Woodpeckers, the Great Spotted Woodpeckers having a red mark on the back of their heads are primarily found in the UK. When it comes to having food, they eat insects and sap from various trees.
- #Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers: The Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are pretty similar to the Great Spotted woodpeckers. But, the difference is that these woodpeckers come with lesser spots. They can usually be found in Europe, especially in the small villages and towns of the UK.
- #Grey-Headed Woodpeckers: The Grey-Headed Woodpeckers are really beautiful due to their light green color. With grey heads, they have black and red on the head. If you’re a resident of anywhere in Europe, you may see these woodpeckers around your house.
- #Middle Spotted Woodpeckers: The Middle Spotted Woodpeckers are quite similar to the Great Spotted and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers. If you stay in anywhere in mainland Europe, especially the UK, you can see these woodpeckers and will be able to attract them to your yard.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. Is it common for woodpeckers to drink from hummingbird feeders?
For woodpeckers, drinking nectar from hummingbird feeders is not common. However, some of the species like the Downy, Great Spotted, and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers are sometimes seen on hummingbird feeders.
2. What colors are woodpeckers attracted to?
Woodpeckers are mostly attracted to the things that have lighter wooden colors, such as vinyl or metallic exterior of your house. They might also be attracted to unpainted wood.
3. Where do you place a woodpecker feeder?
You should place a suet feeder near thick branches or tree trunks. If you’re willing to hang a platform feeder, make sure to mount it in areas ground-feeding birds cannot reach it. When it comes to nectar feeders, place where you usually set it for hummingbirds.
In a nutshell, you should be patient when you’re trying to attract various woodpecker species to your yard. Along with creating a woodpecker-friendly landscape, you have to meet their basic needs, such as food, water, shelter, and protection from predators.
However, you’ve already known how to attract woodpeckers in simple and effective manners. You can now attract plenty of woodpeckers by providing them with sunflower seeds, peanuts, and suet balls in an upside-down feeder.