4 Best Foods For Feeding & Attracting Woodpeckers

Snow, sleet and bitterly cold temperatures are no match for woodpeckers. Their can’t-miss black and white markings, with an occasional sprinkling of red, stand out as they acrobatically forage around bare tree trunks and brave the winter months. Attract more of these sought-after birds this season with this simple yet satisfying menu.


Woodpeckers aren’t picky. Suet straight from the butcher will do; there’s no need to render it. Place the suet in a large cage feeder. Store-bought cakes get the job done, too. A basic suet cage feeder is inexpensive, and pre-made cakes slide right in for a perfect fit. (Learn how to make your own suet!)


Shelled or unshelled, this delicious snack is one that woodpeckers gobble up. You can find feeders made specifically for peanuts. Companies that sell nuts have jumped on the birding bandwagon and sell peanut feed that doesn’t make the cut for human consumption. Remember: Unsalted peanuts are best.


Downies and hairies are particularly fond of this all-around favorite. Because woodpeckers are a bit bigger than the average songbird, you should serve sunflower seeds in a hopper or platform feeder to give them easy access.


Here’s an easy, no-fuss way to feed winter woodpeckers: Simply smear peanut butter directly on the tree trunks. Or buy a log feeder and fill the predrilled holes with the gooey, high-fat snack.


Field Editor Boni Trombetta feeds woodpeckers all year. “Adults bring the babies to the feeders so they know where to find an easy meal,” she says.

6 Woodpeckers to Watch For

  • Downy
  • Hairy
  • Red-Bellied
  • Red-Headed
  • Pileated
  • Northern Flicker


Serve up a winning menu of high-fat treats to keep these energetic birds coming back for seconds (and thirds).


Source: The 4 Best Foods for Woodpeckers – Birds and Blooms