11 Tips on How to Attract Woodpeckers to Your Yard (2021)

Tori Rhodes
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Create a Perching Space

Much of the woodpecker's habitat is created from woodpeckers themselves.

Woodpeckers prefer to live in dead trees, but live trees can be used. However, live trees used for nesting and roosting must be extremely healthy.

The nest cavity is created by drilling out the wood and removing the bits. These cavities are used by many other birds, but the woodpeckers can be discouraged from abandoning their nest by creating fake cavities.

These can be constructed using a few blocks of wood nailed together to simulate the texture and size of a woodpecker nest.

The location of these birdhouses is very important. They must be in close proximity to the area that the woodpeckers go to get food, so that they stop by often.

They should also be placed at a height which is easy for the woodpeckers to reach, but people to overlook.

The woodpecker bird houses can be placed on trees, bird feeders and poles. You can also purchase an appropriate sized birdhouse if you prefer to go that route.

It all takes is a little hard work to help out some needy wildlife. You will enjoy their company, and they will help to protect your home from wood-eating insects. Who could argue with that?

Tempt With The Right Treats

It’s easy to tempt woodpeckers into coming to your yard by using the right treats. Mix up the birdseed with fresh fruit, specially during the winter.

Leave any old fruit that you don’t want to eat. It will make your yard come alive with insects, and birds will flock to eat them.

Place a few wicker baskets filled with fruit in your trees and hang them low enough for birds to reach, and they’ll keep coming back.

Some other favorites you can provide for woodpeckers are sunflower, suet cakes, corn on the cob, raisins, and nuts.

Woodpeckers also love corn, nutty trail mix, peanuts, suet, and sunflower seeds.

If you are worried it’s not enough for the birds, you can add several fruit tress around the yard, especially the blueberry and elderberry trees.

Use Woodpecker Specific Feeders

Try woodpecker specific feeders for a tasty treat and to help attract these birdies to your yard. Our favorite is the Mockingbird Hill Feather Blaster because it really works!

It may sound silly to use a feeder just for woodpeckers, but with their beak size and delicate jaw, many of them have trouble eating from a tray feeder. They don’t typically feed on the ground, so they don’t have that muscle memory just yet.

Sometimes just offering a smaller target to peck at will draw the birds in. Give it a shot just for ten or fifteen minutes in the beginning and see what happens.

Add a “Private” Bird Bath

With a woodpecker, the water must be “fresh” and deep enough for them to dip their entire head. They also like to sit beside the water and dangle their toes in the water while they eat.

If you are trying to attract a certain species of woodpecker, you will want to look for a private feeder they would like to visit.

The best simple solution is to place a birdbath in your yard right off of the deck. This way, you can stand by the kitchen window and watch them from inside.

For the location, you will want to be sure to position the bath a nice distance away from other trees or branches(10’-15’) to give the bird enough room so they don’t have to fight others for the best spot.

They also like to have plenty of sun for bathing.

Keep The Snags (Dead Trees)

Dead trees (snags) are extremely important for woodpeckers.

Snags provide habitat and nest holes for both cavity nester birds and birds that use natural cavities. Woodpeckers also rely on snags for foraging and roosting.

In fact, the American Woodcock uses them almost exclusively.

Snags also tend to attract a wide array of other wildlife and promote the growth of other plants.

Woody debris, on the other hand, is basically dead wood from trees that has fallen and accumulated in an area.

Wood piles from local tree-trimming work and storm damage can also become a source of woody debris. Woody debris includes branches, limbs, lumber, bark, firewood and twigs.

Wood piles can be quickly turned to a source of food for woodpeckers as well as the other wildlife species that also depend on these dead and dead/dying trees and wood piles for food and shelter.

So if you are experiencing woodpecker problems, this is one thing you can do about it. The best thing you can do is let as many dead trees/snags as possible. Dead trees hold longer than trees that are alive and healthy. Once the tree has stopped living, it will take over 5-10 years to decay.

Create a Bird-Friendly Landscape

Here are some tips that we use to attract woodpeckers to our backyard, plus some of the birds we have spotted in our yard.

Add The Right Bird House (Nesting Site)

Woodpeckers prefer to nest in holes in trees that are at least 6 inches in diameter.

As mentioned above, one of the advantages of a bird house is that you can hang it and you can pick the height.

If you’re doing it in a tree, the branch should be sturdy enough to hold the weight. You can look at the branch for cracks or any signs of deterioration.

If you put it in your yard, find a tall tree with a sturdy branch that’s away from the main foot traffic in your yard. Place the bird house somewhere that’s away from noisy areas like the street or that electricity pole.

Create a Private Feeding Station

There are many different types of wild birds that will enjoy a home-made feeding bird. Part of preparing for these types of birds is creating your own private feeding station.

These are great in that they help keep all of the seed and seed-dirt in your yard in one spot, and they will act as a four-sided mesh cage to help keep bigger birds out of your yard.

The best thing about these stations are that they seem to be really easy to create, and you will have the added advantage of them being easy to move in and out of your yard whenever you want.

You can also add to them when you have your own private bird to go in them, since you will have the main part of the feeder done.

If you are planning on making yourself one, there are many simple ideas online that are based on just using things you have at home that will help deter other birds out and keep your new bird happy.

Whether you choose to make it or to get one already built, you need to consider the placement of it if you are planning to attract woodpeckers.

One of the best ways to attract woodpeckers to your yard is by placing it on a tree. Keeping it high in a tree will help them think you are up in the branches, and it will help you avoid them pulling out the seeds that you put in the feeder.

Keep Your Bird House Clean

Size does matter, but there are other factors that should also be considered.

First, your bird house must be located in a place where it isn’t in the way of other household or yard activities.

Second, keep your birdhouse clean and well maintained to also prevent diseases and insect build-up.

Third, clean snow or ice from your birdhouse every morning. Snow and ice can melt and freeze into your birdhouse, also causing mold and mildew in the process.

Fourth, replace the nesting materials often.

Replace the nesting material every few weeks, especially if you have a busy bird family in your neighborhood.

Fifth, avoid using glue products. Even though it’s efficient to use, glue doesn’t provide a living and growing environment for the birds.

Sixth, make sure you hang your birdhouse in a darker area of the lawn. Birds prefer to nest in bushes and trees to seclude their eggs from the prying eyes of predators.

Seventh, make sure that your birdhouse isn’t affected by the weather conditions. Do a routine check on your birdhouse regularly and you’ll notice mold, mildew, and drooping of the nesting materials. Replace the nesting materials to make it more bird-friendly.

Feed Consistently

Woodpeckers need to be fed regularly and at different times in order to attract them to your yard. It will also increase your success rate with regards to the number of woodpeckers that will be attracted to your yard.

Woodpeckers also like to have a variety of different foods available, so it is best to offer a mixture or variety of foods. This will eliminate the possibility that they will become bored with the same old thing and look for another yard to visit.

Discourage Woodpecker Drumming

If the noise is loud enough to bother you, try:

Taping an air rifle to the side of the house facing the tree.

Hanging a Scarecrow in a Suit of Armor from the Top of the Tree

On the ground:

  • Install strong, overlapping plastic bird netting on the base of the tree.
  • Spray petroleum jelly on the trunk to discourage sap licking.
  • Put bright plastic that doesn’t chip, dent or degrade on the trunk.
  • Make nooses from string and clothespins and hang them on the branches.
  • Spray the trunk with citrus oil and water to discourage licking.
  • String large tin cans on a rope on the trunk.
  • Put netting on a nylon stocking stuck on the trunk.
  • Wrap the trunk with metal or plastic banding.
  • Wrap the trunk with electrical tape.
  • Wrap the trunk with silver foil.