Bird of the Month: Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker feeding from a suet feeder.

Woodpecker is a term for a wide variety of birds that exist almost worldwide.  Woodpeckers here are mostly non-migratory and omnivorous eating bugs, nuts and fruits.  They are handsome birds and entertaining to watch.  Most varieties prefer taking up refuge in hardwood trees and therefor prefer mature forests.  Several varieties though have adapted quite well to residential areas.  During warmer months they can sometimes be hard to spot even when they are heard.  The winter months bring more opportunity to get a closer look with the falling leaves and shortage of bugs.  Varieties you should be able to spot around Raleigh, NC and the Piedmont area of North Carolina are:

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Downy Woodpecker:  These birds are small, quiet, and easily overlooked although they are quite common.  They have adapted well to wooded residential areas and love suet!  They are here year-round but the bare trees in winter make them much easier to spot.

Red-bellied Woodpecker:  Another very common species in this area, this is the woodpecker you normally hear before you see it.  They are widespread and well adapted to wooded residential areas and are common to feeders in wooded yards.


Young Hairy Woodpecker at feeder.

Hairy Woodpecker:  This species is not as common in Wake County but can be seen in the surrounding counties.  They prefer larger trees and more dense forests.  They are unlikely to be seen in residential areas but if you have a secluded area in one of Wake’s neighboring counties you have a good chance of catching sight of one.

Male Pileated Woodpecker

Pileated Woodpecker:  This woodpecker is fairly common.  It’s believed to be the largest and most spectacular woodpecker in America and is most similar to the Woody Woodpecker cartoon! It has adapted to wooded residential areas but it prefers wooded hardwood and mixed forests within a flood plain or along a river.  It is not uncommon to see these at a feeder in winter.

Red-Headed Woodpecker

Re-headed Woodpecker:  This species can be in this area but is unpredictable.  It is believed that their population has declined, being effected by Starlings.  They are migratory but it is also believed we have year round residents.  Winter sightings tend to be more prevalent in years with abundant acorns.

We have a variety of specialty foods to draw more woodpeckers to your feeders this year.

Lyric Woodpecker Wild Bird Mix: This specialty blend of nuts, fruit and sunflower seed is loved by woodpeckers and other birds.  If you’d like to offer it exclusively to woodpeckers and nuthatches provide it in a perch-less woodpecker or peanut feeder.   Provide it in a normal feeder or mixed with other food if you don’t mind sharing it will all the birds.

Suet: Most woodpeckers love suet and like other birds, enjoy it more in the winter.  We carry a large variety of suet including all natural varieties including insect ones specially formulated for woodpeckers.  Save 10% off of suet when you buy a case of 12 – mix and match!

Suet Nuggets:  This no waste food is a favorite among suet, fruit and insect loving birds.  Offer it in a specialty mesh or woodpecker feeder or it can be mixed with seed and offered in a traditional or platform feeder for all birds to enjoy.

Dried Mealworms:  We have 100% natural dried mealworms to offer as a premium, high protein, food for your wild birds.  It’s highly nutritious and especially loved by woodpeckers, bluebirds and other insect eating birds.  Provide in a mealworm feeder or place in a dish (up high and away from predators of course!)

Sweet Treats:  Bird seed enhancers can be added to existing bird seed or served alone in a dish and packed with ingredients wild birds crave!  Choose the insect blend which is packed with creepy crawlies especially for woodpeckers!

See our other articles on attracting birds to your yard and feeding your birds in winter.