Skip to content
Need a Holiday gift? Shop our 2022 gift guide >>
Need a Holiday gift? Shop our 2022 gift guide >>
5 Tips to Attract Woodpeckers To Your Backyard

5 Tips to Attract Woodpeckers To Your Backyard

Did you know that there are almost two dozen different woodpecker species in the United States? In fact, some species like the downy woodpecker and hairy woodpecker can be found virtually everywhere in the nation. Additionally, many woodpecker species do not migrate but rather remain in their home during winter. For those that do migrate, some return to the same spot while others create new nests each year. 

Woodpeckers are beautiful birds that are a lot of fun to watch because of their behaviors. If you are wanting to attract woodpeckers to your backyard, here are some important tips to pay attention to that will increase your likelihood of having these special visitors. 

Offer the Right Kind of Food

When it comes to attracting birds, choosing the right kind of food is the most important step. For woodpeckers, suet cakes in wire feeders are the best options out there. These feeders are great as they allow woodpeckers to perch and eat the cake. 

However, suet is not the only type of food loved by woodpeckers. They also enjoy things like acorns, sunflower seeds, cracked corn, grapes, and apples. Some of these may be naturally occurring in your yard while others can be easily added to a platform feeder

Give Them Space to Bathe

Like many birds, woodpeckers prefer water sources for bathing and drinking. However, they tend to be much shier than some species. Thus, you want to attract woodpeckers by placing a small birdbath in a more secluded location. Items like these framed ground bird baths are good choices. 

Tucking baths away near shaded brush and shrubs are good as woodpeckers do not prefer to bathe in wide open spaces. You may also consider adding a dripper or feature to move the water, which can attract the bird to this little oasis. 

Don’t Get Rid of Dead Trees and Stumps

Woodpeckers overwhelmingly prefer areas that have dead trees. These are critical for their habitat as they provide nesting space and areas to hunt for food. Woodpeckers that forage will find insects and worms in these areas. 

Many species of woodpecker prefer dead or rotting trees when it comes to selecting a location for carving out their nesting holes. If you have dead trees on your property, you’ll also want to minimize your use of pesticides as this will help attract more insects, an important food source for your woodpeckers. 

Consider a Bird House

Speaking of places for woodpeckers to nest, these birds actually like some bird houses that remind them of the carved out tree cavities that they like to nest in. Specifically, you will want to find a wooden bird house that has a cavity depth between nine and fifteen inches. 

You will want to mount this house at least ten feet in the air and no more than twenty feet high. The preferred entrance hole size varies based on woodpecker species, so feel free to do a little bit of research before selecting the right bird house. 

Make Perching Areas

Woodpeckers who have areas to perch are more likely to visit. These birds have what is known as zygodactyl feet, meaning they have two forward-facing toes and two back-facing toes. This allows them to have strong grips on trees and other vertical areas. 

Thus, providing woodpeckers with many areas to grab onto is a great way to encourage them to visit. This is also something to think about when creating specific spaces like bird houses for them, particularly if you decide to build your own. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether you want to attract woodpeckers or other types of birds to your backyard, Birdertown is your go-to place for all the supplies you need as well as great advice for our fellow birders. 

Previous article 4 Beautiful North American Birds & How to Attract Them To Your Backyard
Next article Western Bluebird vs. Mountain Bluebird: What’s the Difference?