Woodpeckers are a beautiful addition to any yard. With their unique feather patterns and bright red markings they are a favourite of many backyard birders. The size range of Woodpeckers is quite broad from the Downy at 6″ to the Pileated at just under 20″. I find listening to a Woodpecker’s call to be almost as rewarding as seeing the bird itself.
The best way to attract Woodpeckers to your yard is by offering peanuts and suet. Long cylindrical feeders that the birds can cling to just like a tree trunk are perfect for providing them with peanut halves. These feeders are inexpensive and will also be visited by Chickadees, Nuthatches, Bluejays, and Wrens to name a few. Check with your local feed retailer for these as well as the various designs for offering peanuts in the shell. Many different types of suet feeders are available too, but my preference is the upside down variety to keep the starlings from consuming all of your suet. Hanging any of these types of feeder works great and Woodpeckers can be quite tame so placing them close to your house will provide excellent views. Remember to hang your feeder in a location where squirrels cannot jump or lower themselves to it.
I have three types of feeders in my yard for attracting Woodpeckers and as a result have four species that frequent them. These species are; Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, and the Northern Flicker. Woodpeckers will visit almost any feeder with a seed mixture in it, but providing a specialty feeder with a supply of peanuts or suet is a great way to increase the variety you will attract and keep them coming back. If given the choice between a standard feeder and seed mix versus a specialty feeder and a supply of high energy peanuts or suet, they will pick the peanuts or suet every time.