Woodpeckers are often elusive to the sight but distinct to the ears. Their famous pecking noise can be heard from far and wide. Attracting woodpeckers to your yard can be difficult, however with the good perch spots, correct bird feeder and feed and a running water feature you can give yourself the best chance of attracting woodpeckers to your yard.
Woodpeckers can be incredibly charming; tiny, colourful birds that zip cautiously between the treetops, settling briefly to gnaw away at the bark before darting off once more. Known and loved in nearly every corner of the world, these beautiful creatures really are national treasures.
From busy city parks to deeply wooded areas, woodpeckers can be found in nearly every environment. With that said, though, it’s still a (very pleasant) surprise when you do manage to catch one flitting about. Many species of woodpecker could be considered endangered, which may be a contributing factor towards their rarity.
Other than that, woodpeckers LOVE suet and seeds – try and place some feeders around (preferably on wooden surfaces), and you’ll start receiving visits in no time.
Here is a detailed list on how to attract woodpeckers to your yard!
1. Places to Perch
2. Dead Trees or Tree Stumps
If you have a dead tree or tree stump, be sure to keep it around. They provide plenty of food for woodpeckers who tend to gravitate to them. In addition, they can act as nests depending on how they can be carved out. A dead tree or stump that is several feet off the ground and has a place for a nest becomes the perfect home for the woodpecker.
One of the best ways to attract woodpeckers is to have a wooden fixture! Though commonly seen hammering their beaks into tree trunks, woodpeckers aren’t too picky – they’ll be happy to drill into any old structure or spare wood lying around. We know what you’re thinking, and yes, this can be very annoying, though we’ll look further into that later on.
3. Water Feature
As with most birds, they located water by its sound. Running water will attract birds from far and wide and will entice wildlife to visit your yard. Woodpeckers like to drink and bathe in water fountains and are therefore a great addition to any yard.
Woodpeckers, in particular, enjoy low bird bath with only a couple inches of water in them. Place them in a quiet area of your yard for maximum effect! Use this clever solar powered fountain pump to keep water constantly running in any water bath. Using energy from the sun it is a sustainable alternative to water fountains.
Attracting woodpeckers is not that difficult, especially when you use the right type of food that brings them from all around. Because of their voracious appetite, you’ll notice a drop in the number of insects around your home, including wasps which can be quite welcome.
Woodpeckers are majestic birds and you can attract them easily by placing high energy food like fatty suet feed or by cultivating your yard with insects and spider to provide them with enough protein. Turn your yard into a rich Eco-system with plenty of shrubbery, trees, available water and perch spots to entice woodpeckers to visit and to stay.
4. Woodpecker Pole
A woodpecker pole is a fantastic way to attract woodpeckers to your yard. It is cheap and easy to make and is very effective. Watch this video on how to make one yourself!
Why attract woodpeckers to your yard?
At first, the idea of attracting a bird known for its constant pecking at trees may not sound all that attractive. At least the kind of woodpecker that has an annoying laugh is only found in cartoons. But a woodpecker is a welcome addition to your home, particularly if you live in a rural or secluded area. This is because a typical woodpecker will consume ants, crickets, flies, grasshoppers, and even wasps along with a wide variety of other insects.
Of course, the woodpecker diet is not limited to insects. They also dine on acorns, sap, berries, and many other fruits and nuts which can be used to entice them to your yard. You’ll want to identify any specific areas that woodpeckers are needed and set up the appropriate nesting places and feeding stations. This means a little work, but the results can be well worth it. Here are a few tips to help you attract more woodpeckers to your property.
In addition, woodpeckers are beautiful birds that have unique shapes and colors. Commonly found throughout the USA and Canada are the Downy, Hairy, Northern Flicker Woodpeckers. Rarer woodpeckers are the Lewis’s and Red-naped Woodpeckers that are only located in the west of the USA while the elusive Pileated, Red-headed and Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are found only in the eastern states of the USA.
What is the best time of year to attract Woodpeckers?
The best time of the year to attract woodpeckers in US is throughout autumn, as many migrating species will head north to breed in cooler conditions. Don’t worry, though – Autumn isn’t the only time to settle down and watch for woodpeckers. They can be found (less commonly) throughout most months of the year.
The first step to attracting woodpeckers is to have a wooden fixture! Though commonly seen hammering their beaks into tree trunks, woodpeckers aren’t too picky – they’ll be happy to drill into any old structure or spare wood lying around. We know what you’re thinking, and yes, this can be very annoying, though we’ll look further into that later on.
Do woodpeckers migrate?
Woodpeckers, for the most part, are sedentary, meaning that they DON’T migrate. Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed that earlier on, I mentioned migrating woodpeckers travelling North – this is because whilst most species choose to remain in one place, there are a few woodpeckers that do migrate.
Migratory species vary from region to region, though one example of a migrating bird is the yellow-bellied sapsucker. Migration destinations depend largely on the species, but it isn’t uncommon for some species to spend the winter in Africa.
Why do woodpeckers peck wood?
These birds like to drill holes for a few reasons: food, shelter, mating and even asserting their dominance! As many woodpeckers are omnivorous, they will happily eat away at any insects. The thing is, most of the insects that they’ll hunt for live inside old wood – the bird will bore a hole into their chosen target, which will then allow them to quickly swipe up their meal.
Similarly, certain species (known as sapsuckers) will bore tiny holes in trees for the sole purpose of yep, you guessed it… sucking the sap out. Woodpeckers are clever little things, and they’ll also peck on wood to create large cavities suitable for nesting and breeding purposes.
Woodpeckers are aptly named: they do, after all, peck wood. Often played up by popular media and children’s cartoons, these birds do still enjoy the act of repeatedly slamming their beaks into wooden structures – this isn’t limited to trees, though! Woodpeckers have been known to peck holes in houses, beams, nests and other wooden locations.
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of a woodpecker’s behaviour is that they will hammer on loud services to both attract a mate AND to declare their territory. If you have woodpeckers local to you, then chances are you will have been a victim of a territorial bird hammering for HOURS against the loudest surface it can find.
Their resilient beaks won’t just stop at wood; when a woodpecker is trying to find a mate, it will also peck against metal and plastic with a rapid, rhythmic succession. This behaviour is appropriately referred to as ‘drumming’, and is likely why a woodpecker has decided to continuously peck against your house – they just like the noise!
How to stop woodpeckers pecking my house?
The easiest way to stop woodpeckers pecking your house is to simply place some visual deterrents outside of your home. Foil-covered paper plates and brightly coloured reflecting discs will work wonders if you’re trying to scare away your woodpecker neighbor. Alternatively, you can purchase large ornaments designed to look like birds of prey – these are VERY effective at keeping unwanted guests at bay.
It’s also important to cover up any holes that pesky woodpeckers have made before they get infested with an insect population – this will only draw MORE woodpeckers to your house.
We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!