When you hear a drumming noise in nature, woodpeckers are most likely to blame! There are 23 species of this bird in the US, with red-bellied and down woodpeckers the most common ones.
Many recognize these birds for their light red caps and white and black feathers. But these aren’t the only colors found in these cute animals.
In this article, I’ll show you how to attract woodpeckers to your backyard and explain to you why you should do it in the first place.
Let’s get started!
Why Should You Attract Woodpeckers?
There’s one thing we must discuss regarding woodpeckers. You may have heard of some people looking for ways to repel these birds because of the noise they make and the damage they can do to houses and surrounding infrastructure.
I don’t deny the fact that the noise may be too much for some people and there is fear of damage to their houses. But there’s more to it than meets the eye.
Some species are in danger of losing their habitats and the main reason is the excessive use of pesticides. Unfortunately, according to The US Fish and Wildlife Service, the ivory-billed woodpecker species is now considered extinct. (1)
Therefore, the number 1 reason why you should create a woodpecker-friendly backyard is to ensure a safe space for these animals. We are the ones who created this whole mess by excessive pesticide usage, so it’s the least we can do.
These birds act as a natural form of pest control, so they’ll help you remove some of the common garden nuisances.
If you’re concerned about the damage these animals can do to your property, you can simply ensure a feeding space. They won’t seek another food source if they have one that’s easily accessible.
Additionally, if you don’t want them in certain parts of your backyard, simply install reflective streamers to repel these birds.
And remember, woodpeckers most likely won’t damage healthy trees in your yard. They prefer dead trees and ones infested by pests.
Some yard owners have asked me if these creatures are dangerous for humans. Well, they won’t attack you unless they feel threatened.
Now, let’s see what we can do to make our backyards woodpecker-friendly.
1. Ensure Food Source
Well, birds can’t survive without food so if you want to attract any species to your yard, you should provide them with food.
These birds will feed on various bird seeds but they’re also fond of unsalted peanuts and peanut butter. There are many bird feeders available on the market and I’m sure woodpeckers will love them all. From my experience, suet feeders are perfect for these birds.
Of course, you can make your own feeders; DIY pumpkin feeders are popular right now. If you already have some bird feeders, you may know that squirrels love stealing food from them.
You can install squirrel baffles or even grow some plants that repel squirrels.
Another way to ensure food sources for woodpeckers is planting native trees or shrubs that bear fruits. Blackberries and cherries are good options.
2. Provide Them With Shelter
Once you ensure food for woodpeckers, things get easier. The next step is to provide them with shelter.
You can install nesting boxes or leave some dead trees in your backyard. Choose a quiet spot in your yard, preferably far away from your house or infrastructure. Then, install boxes at a height of approximately 8-12 feet.
This method is commonly used for attracting owls to outdoor spaces.
A layer of woodchips in the nesting box will ensure nesting material for woodpeckers.
Sometimes, birds don’t choose our yards to nest but that doesn’t mean they’ll abandon your yard. Native trees and shrubs will provide a safe space for woodpeckers.
3. Install A Bird Bath
Water is just as important for woodpeckers as food, so one of the ways to attract these animals is to install bird baths.
If you have a larger yard, you can also make a pond and ensure water for birds while also making your outdoor space more attractive.
Those who have smaller backyards can install any type of small water feature. They’ll improve the visual appeal of your garden and help you attract beneficial insects.
You’ve seen why these bird species deserve to be a part of your backyard. The ways to attract them are really simple so why don’t you make a woodpecker-friendly garden? These animals will certainly appreciate it.
1. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Proposes Delisting 23 Species from Endangered Species Act Due to Extinction | U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. (2021, September 29).