Having woodpeckers in your garden not only makes for a great bird watching experience but they can also clear termites out of your trees and help your garden to flourish.
Attracting woodpeckers isn’t as easy as you might have thought and there are several things that can put them off visiting your bird feeder.
If you’ve already got a woodpecker feeder but aren’t seeing as many woodpeckers in your garden as you thought there’d be, there are a few things you can do to attract more woodpeckers to your garden.
Invest The Best Woodpecker Feeders
The reason you don’t have many woodpeckers in your garden might be as simple as you don’t have enough high-quality bird feeders. Larger gardens might need more than one feeder to cover the area and provide enough space for more woodpeckers to feed comfortably. Also, not all bird feeders are created equal and the quality of your bird feeder can really make a difference.
The best woodpecker feeders have separate suet cages so that multiple birds can feed at the same time. A good woodpecker feeder should be made from durable and weatherproof material that keeps the birdseed or suet cakes protected. If you are yet to buy a woodpecker feeder or need more to cover your garden, you’ll want one of these high-quality options.
Think About Positioning
Once you’ve got the perfect woodpecker feeder, you’ll want to think about where to place it in your garden for the best results. Some people put their bird feeders anywhere they think they will look good and often make them the centerpiece of their garden, but this isn’t always the most effective location.
Sunlight And Shade
In reality, you’ll want to find a place that is shaded with occasional sunlight to make the feeder more obvious to birds flying overhead. Keeping your bird feeder in an area that is shaded the majority of the time will protect the material from both rain and sun damage.
Flowers And Trees
A good idea is to also place your woodpecker feeder near to flowers and trees as the woodpeckers will be naturally attracted to the nectar from the flowers and the trees where they often find food like termites or build nesting areas.
Much like hummingbirds and a range of other species, woodpeckers are known to be territorial. So, even though a lot of woodpecker feeders are designed for two or more visitors at a time, ideally you would want to set up separate feeders on separate areas where the birds won’t feel challenged for space.
Pick The Perfect Bird Feed
Another common mistake is using a generic bird feeder filled with birdseed. Woodpeckers actually prefer suet cakes which is why many woodpecker feeders feature suet holders. These are perfect for simulating tree pecking which is how woodpeckers would naturally find a lot of their food.
Suet cakes are made from rendered animal fat which is the perfect substitute for insect-eating birds like woodpeckers who might not otherwise get the protein and nutrients they need in the winter.
Another key to attracting woodpeckers is refilling your feed and cleaning your feeder regularly. Suet cakes, in particular, can get mushy in the rain and go off so you will need to keep an eye on your bird feed and change it when necessary. When you do change the feed make sure you give the entire feeder a good clean as certain bacteria can deter woodpeckers for their own health.
As well as food, woodpeckers need a source of water so think about setting up a birdbath or water bowl so they can wash down their meal with some fresh water. Just like your bird feeder, your water source will need regular cleaning to ward off harmful bacteria.
Remember That Woodpeckers Are Seasonal
If you think you’ve got everything set up for your woodpecker visitors but still aren’t seeing a lot of birds coming during the summer, remember that fall and winter are actually prime time to see woodpeckers.
Although you might think summer is the perfect time for bird watching, winter and fall are when woodpeckers are looking for more feed to stock up for winter so this is the time to get your binoculars out.
Because of this it is important to think about blooming seasons for different flowers. Try to plant early and late blooming flowers so you have a range flourishing at different times of the year to keep the woodpeckers interested.
Of course, woodpeckers appreciate the natural shelter of a tree, like an Oak or a Pine. If you don’t live in a heavily forested area, you can plant shrubs to provide a little shelter. A lot of bird feeders also come with a small roof or shelter to protect birds from rain and other predators.
Squirrels can be the biggest deterrent for birds so if you regularly see squirrels in your garden you might want to think of a way to protect your feed and birds from these predators. A squirrel baffle can easily be added to any bird feeder and you can even make your own DIY squirrel baffles from scratch.
So, if you’ve invested in the perfect woodpecker feeder but are yet to see results, there are several reasons why you might not be seeing many woodpeckers in your garden.
Make sure you’ve thought about all of the possible reasons why your bird feeders might not be working for you and once you’ve addressed these issues, you’re sure to see more of these charming garden visitors.