Ask the Bird Lady: Best feeder for woodpeckers

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Photos by Christine Southwick

Do you have a question for The Bird Lady, Christine Southwick? Send it to us.

Question from reader Vicky Turner:

What is the best type of feeder for woodpeckers including the Pileated woodpeckers currently at our suet feeder? The less squirrel friendly the better.

Answer from The Bird Lady:

Greetings Vicky,

The best suet feeders for Woodpeckers are the ones with a wooden extension. Both Wild Birds Unlimited, and Seattle Audubon Nature Shop sell these. Get one that has the standard size holes like the regular suet holders.

These make squirrels work so hard for the suet that they don't usually go after them.The bigger holes in the cross-wires some suet feeders have make it too easy for these furry beasties, and result in your suet disappearing within a day.

Since woodpeckers are bug eaters, suet is their preferred feeder food, but they will eat shelled seeds.

The best deterrent for squirrels depends on positioning feeders wisely.  Squirrels can jump five feet, and are adapt and weighing down a branch and then jumping from that closer position.

Tall poles with squirrel baffles on the main pole, plus baffles above the feeders have worked the best for me. Remember to keep branches away for the pole set-up, or the squirrels will out-smart you, a much too common occurrence.

Pictures are all mine in my yard.

The Bird Lady


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