If you’re a bird enthusiast looking to attract some feathery visitors to your backyard, then attracting Hairy Woodpeckers to your bird feeder is a wonderful idea. These larger versions of Downy Woodpeckers are a sight to behold with their striking black and white plumage. Found across the United States (excluding Florida and Texas), Hairy Woodpeckers are commonly seen in woods and forests with large trees. They are solitary or in small family groups, making them excellent companions for other birds at feeders. To entice these beautiful creatures, consider using larger feeders like platform or hopper feeders and placing them near large-diameter trees. Offering suet, berries, fruit, sunflower seeds, nuts, and peanut butter as food options can also help attract them. Just be aware that Hairy Woodpeckers may drum on your home if they’re particularly interested in your feeder; switching to a tube feeder or removing suet can help deter this behavior. If you’re eager to observe these woodpeckers up close, the Celestron Nature DX ED 8×42 binoculars are highly recommended. For more information and FAQs about attracting and feeding Hairy Woodpeckers, make sure to visit the detailed blog post.
Choosing the Right Feeder
Platform or Hopper Feeders
When it comes to attracting Hairy Woodpeckers to your yard, larger feeders are recommended. Platform or hopper feeders are great choices because they provide ample space for these birds to perch and feed comfortably. The platform feeder is a simple design that offers a flat surface for birds to land on, while the hopper feeder has a reservoir that can hold a larger quantity of food. Both types of feeders are durable and can withstand the pecking of woodpeckers.
Consider the Size
When selecting a feeder, it’s important to consider its size. Hairy Woodpeckers are larger than their Downy Woodpecker counterparts, so they need a feeder that can accommodate their size. Look for feeders with larger perches and spacious feeding areas to ensure that the woodpeckers can access the food without any difficulty. Additionally, consider the capacity of the feeder to ensure that it can hold enough food to attract these birds and keep them coming back for more.
Location is Key
Choosing the right location for your feeder is crucial in attracting Hairy Woodpeckers. These birds are most commonly found in woods and forests with large trees, both deciduous and coniferous. Therefore, it’s ideal to place your feeder near large-diameter trees, as they serve as natural attractors for these woodpeckers. The proximity to trees provides a sense of safety for the birds and encourages them to visit your feeder regularly. Additionally, consider creating a wooded environment by incorporating shrubs and bushes around the feeder to mimic their natural habitat.
Selecting the Right Food
Suet is a Must
When it comes to food preferences, suet is a favorite among Hairy Woodpeckers. Suet is a high-energy food made from animal fat that is appreciated by these birds due to its high nutritional value. It provides them with the necessary calories to sustain their energy levels throughout the day. Suet can be easily obtained from bird supply stores or made at home using a mixture of fat, seeds, fruits, and nuts. Offer suet in a specialized suet feeder or attach it to the trunk of a tree using a suet cage.
Berries and Fruit
In addition to suet, Hairy Woodpeckers also enjoy feeding on berries and fruit. Including a selection of berries such as raspberries, blackberries, and elderberries in your bird feeder can help attract these woodpeckers. Apples, oranges, and grapes are also popular choices that can entice them to visit. Ensure that the berries and fruits are fresh and cut them into small, bite-sized pieces to make it easier for the birds to consume.
Sunflower Seeds and Nuts
Sunflower seeds are another food source that Hairy Woodpeckers find appealing. These seeds are packed with nutrients and are a great way to attract a variety of bird species, including woodpeckers. Choose black oil sunflower seeds, as they have a high oil content that provides essential fats for the birds. Additionally, offering a mix of nuts such as peanuts, almonds, and walnuts can also be enticing to Hairy Woodpeckers.
Peanut Butter Treats
Another option for attracting Hairy Woodpeckers is to provide them with peanut butter treats. Spread peanut butter on pine cones, logs, or even use specialized peanut butter feeders to offer a delicious treat to these birds. Be sure to use unsalted peanut butter and avoid any varieties that contain artificial sweeteners or additives that can be harmful to birds. Peanut butter treats are not only enjoyed by Hairy Woodpeckers but also by a variety of other backyard birds.
Optimizing Feeder Placement
Near Large-Diameter Trees
To maximize your chances of attracting Hairy Woodpeckers, it’s important to consider the placement of your feeder. These woodpeckers are most commonly found in areas with large-diameter trees, as they offer suitable nesting and foraging sites. By positioning your feeder near these trees, you create a more natural environment that is appealing to Hairy Woodpeckers. The trees also provide cover and protection, making the birds more comfortable and likely to visit your feeder.
Create a Wooded Environment
In addition to placing the feeder near large-diameter trees, you can further enhance its appeal by creating a wooded environment around the feeding area. Planting shrubs, bushes, and flowering plants can provide additional cover and attract a variety of insects that these woodpeckers feed on. The presence of natural vegetation mimics the woodpeckers’ natural habitat and entices them to visit your feeder. Consider native species that are known to attract birds in your area for the best results.
Consider Bird Baths
While Hairy Woodpeckers primarily rely on feeding from suet and other food sources, they have been known to visit bird baths for hydration. Including a bird bath near your feeder can provide an additional incentive for these birds to frequent your yard. Ensure that the water in the bird bath is fresh and clean, and consider adding a dripper or mister to simulate the sound and movement of running water, which can be especially enticing to woodpeckers.
Dealing with Unwanted Behavior
Drumming on Your Home
One behavior that some homeowners may find unwanted is when Hairy Woodpeckers drum on their homes. Woodpeckers drum for a variety of reasons, including communication, establishing territory, and searching for insects beneath the surface of the wood. If you find that Hairy Woodpeckers are drumming on your home, there are a few steps you can take to deter them. One option is to switch to a tube feeder, as the design of these feeders makes it difficult for woodpeckers to drum on them. Another option is to remove suet from your feeder temporarily, as it is a food source that Hairy Woodpeckers are particularly attracted to.
Switch to Tube Feeders
If you’re experiencing issues with unwanted behavior from Hairy Woodpeckers, such as drumming on your home, switching to a tube feeder may be a viable solution. Tube feeders have narrow openings that make it difficult for woodpeckers to drum on them. They also typically have perches that are too small for woodpeckers to comfortably cling to, further discouraging these behaviors. Tube feeders can still attract a variety of bird species, including Hairy Woodpeckers, as they provide a reliable source of food.
If Hairy Woodpeckers are causing damage to your property or exhibiting unwanted behaviors, temporarily removing suet from your feeder can help deter them. As mentioned earlier, suet is a favorite food source for these birds, and its removal may discourage them from visiting your feeder. However, it’s important to note that removing suet should only be a temporary measure, as these woodpeckers rely on it for their nutritional needs. Once the unwanted behavior has ceased, you can gradually reintroduce suet to the feeder.
Recommended Equipment for Bird Watching
Celestron Nature DX ED 8×42 Binoculars
If you’re interested in observing Hairy Woodpeckers and other bird species up close, a pair of high-quality binoculars is essential. The Celestron Nature DX ED 8×42 binoculars are highly recommended for bird watching due to their superior optics and durable construction. These binoculars provide a clear and detailed view of birds, allowing you to appreciate their plumage and behavior from a distance. With a 8x magnification and 42mm objective lens, these binoculars strike a perfect balance between clarity and brightness for optimal bird watching experiences.
Visit the Blog Post
For more detailed information on attracting and feeding Hairy Woodpeckers, be sure to visit our blog post. It contains additional tips and insights to help you create an inviting environment for these beautiful birds. From feeder selection to food choices to placement techniques, the blog post covers everything you need to know to successfully attract Hairy Woodpeckers to your yard.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any specific questions or concerns about attracting and feeding Hairy Woodpeckers, our Frequently Asked Questions section is a great resource. It addresses common queries and provides helpful answers to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of how to effectively attract and care for these woodpeckers. Refer to this section for additional guidance and tips on making your yard a haven for Hairy Woodpeckers and other bird species.