Woodpecker delight

After 10 days of fog so thick I couldn’t see the neighbor’s house across the street in the morning, we have a partially sunny morning at last.  That, and temperatures hovering at 0 F brought the woodpeckers into the backyard suet feeders all at once. In the space of about five minutes, four woodpecker species snacked on the peanut-enriched suet in my new feeders.

downy woodpecker female

The diminutive Downy Woodpeckers are frequent visitors to the suet.

hairy woodpecker male

Mrs. Downy was quickly chased away by a much larger Hairy Woodpecker — this one a male, indicated by the red on the back of his head.  The Hairy Woodpeckers don’t seem to like suet feeders as much as the rest of the birds do in my backyard.

male red-bellied woodpecker

Mr. Red-bellied Woodpecker never can decide which hole provides the best tasting suet. He tries several each feeding bout.

northern flicker male

And over on the other side of the yard, a Northern Flicker male pounds away at the peanut suet in a natural log feeder.

I have learned that all suet is not the same — woodpeckers really delight in the peanut variety, over just fat and bird seed pressed together.  They also seem to prefer logs over cakes, whether because they like the idea of drilling in a hole, or because the log variety of suet just tastes better.  So this is what I buy for them now.


It costs a little more than regular suet, doesn’t melt in the summer, and can easily be molded and pressed into the holes in the feeder logs.

I found I could save quite a bit on buying suet feeders by just converting appropriate sized logs from tree branch clean-up into log feeders.  My husband drilled the 1 inch holes with his largest drill bit, fastened an eye-bolt into the top of the log, and voila — log feeder ready for filling.  Plus, with the rough surface of the log easier to cling to, no additional grooves need to be cut into its surface. Chickadees, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and even Blue Jays visit these log feeders often.

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