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What Kind of Birdseed do Woodpeckers Like?

 
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We have been having so much fun watching the birds at the bird feeder.

At first, we bought a 10-pound bag of birdseed and then a 50-pound bag. It is time to buy more birdseed.

The problem is that the woodpeckers will throw all the seeds on the ground from a freshly filled feeder just to get what they like.  By the time they are done the feeder is nearly empty.

I am assuming they are after the sunflower seeds.  What other seeds do woodpeckers like?

Since we have all sizes of birds from tiny to the biggest being the Scrub Jays, I like the birdseed blend.

If we got another feeder just for the woodpeckers, would that work?  Or would they still go to the other feeder?
 
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Their probably just digging for the most nutrition. Maybe try offering them suet nearby? They looove suet.
 
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I agree with James.  Woodpeckers loooove suet blocks.  My little downies avoid all seeds except sunflower. In fact, if a suet block is "contaminated" with bits of corn, they pick through and eat just the suet, scattering suet-y corn bits all over the bushes. They seem ok with the suet blocks that have sunflower seeds and fruit, though.
 
Anne Miller
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Do you think they will like this recipe as it has ingredients that I have:

INGREDIENTS

   2 cups quick-cooking oats
   2 cups cornmeal
   1 cup flour
   1⁄2 cup sugar
   1 cup lard (I use bacon grease)
   1 cup crunchy peanut butter



Melt the lard and peanut butter together, either on the stove or in the microwave.

Combine all of the dry ingredients.

Add the dry ingredients to the melted fats.

The original recipe suggests pouring into a square pan about 2 inches deep, or spreading onto tree limbs. I just put it into ziplock containers and scoop it out as needed to fill a screen type of feeder (See photos). I use my cookie scoop to take it out, but then mash and break up the scoops, because otherwise the squirrels can come and take a whole scoop at once, way too easily! I don't know if it would hold up well in cake form, as I haven't tried that, but it defintely doesn't melt or make a gloppy mess.



https://www.food.com/recipe/no-melt-suet-for-birds-321434

I like that she uses bacon grease as I have lots of that.

I don't have a screen feeder will they use it if I just put it in a container on the ground?
 
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That looks good.
If you have smaller woodpeckers you can smear the stuff into pine cones and hang them.
If they're bigger, you can put the stuff into a mold with some string, like the recipe says (assuming you're cold enough for the stuff to hold together). If you put it on the ground, I think the birds might feel too vulnerable. Put it on a birdbath or stump or something, maybe, but you're likely to attract bears/raccoons/etc.
 
Anne Miller
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Thanks, everyone!  I hope I don't have bears, possible though not likely but I thought about the raccoon.  I might have to bring it in a night unless I hang from trees.  It can be in 70' so that might not work.  I'll find out when I make it.
 
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Good comments above. My woodpeckers (downy, hairy, and pileated) are partial to black oil sunflower seeds.

I also collect raw suet trimmings from pork, beef, whatever and put them in a bag in my freezer. In winter, they go into a wire cage that I hang in a tree. The woodpeckers are at it constantly, ignoring the commercial suet/seed blocks I set out.
 
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The little buggers will destroy my beehives to get in there and feast.
 
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:     My woodpeckers (downy, hairy, and pileated) are partial to black oil sunflower seeds.



Pretty much spot on for our mix of woodpeckers and what they seem to love.  But also....and not all stores have it....shrink-wrapped hard chunks of beef suet, sometimes in the grocer's meat case (where you find tripe, liver, etc.) or at a local butcher's shop.  That seems to be their favorite, especially when the whether really gets cold.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Yup, you can buy raw beef tallow, and the birds love it. But it galls me to pay for it, so I have cultivated a network that provides it for free. (I'm possibly consfusing tallow and suet; I mean the stuff that is straight from the animal, completely unprocessed.)

(Aside: This makes me wonder if woodpeckers scavenge at road kills or whatever, and we don't realize it. They breed early in spring, and seem primed to stay in peak condition during the lean times.)
 
Mk Neal
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Anne, one trick I have read, but not tried myself is to use a hollowed-out half of an orange peel filled with the fat mixture, then run a string through it to hang in a tree branch.

I use the wire-cage feeder made for suet, because its the only thing that doesn't just get destroyed by squirrels in my yard. Even with the cage, I avoid anything with peanut b/c the squirrels go crazy for it and will stop at nothing to get it.
 
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Depends on type of woodpecker...

We have Downy Woodpeckers come to feed. Suet is king, preferably with nuts chunks (peanut, almond, pecan) and black oil (not striped) sunflower seed...

If you have larger WP's, a tail stand suet holder is key if not placed directly on the side of a tree or building - they need to press tail against something for balance.

Attaching suet to the underside of a board or feeder (protects from snow/rain/droppings) so they can go upside down works great for all sorts of birds (Bush Tits, chickadee's etc) including the WP's, and keeps the starlings from gorging through a block in minutes.

I caution against the cheap "wild birdseed" mix that is commonly sold. It is mostly millet and cracked corn by weight, which is the least favored feed for most birds, so they pick through it creating a rodent cafeteria on the ground below. Take the time to identify and then determine the ideal seed for your birds - there will be a lot less waste and mess.

For me, that is some feeders with a niger/black oil crumb (broken bits) 50/50 blend for the finches; black oil in she'll for the Junco's, chickadee's etc with one feeder of "wild birdseed" for the house Sparrows who love it.

I believe I have found THE BEST birdfeeder, albeit they are expensive at $100+ (amazon.ca around $120) by woodlink - Varicraft avian mixed seed feeder. It is an all metal tube feeder with 8 "ports" and a massive hopper that holds 15lbs of seed. The cage around it is to deter squirrels (can't vouch for this, as we have few squirrels) and keeps those feeding safe from predation by hawks etc. It also seems to suffer from very little seed spill due to design and small tray. I zap strap a suet cage to the bottom.
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Anne Miller
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Dear hubby is the one that watches the birds. When he complains about them throwing all the seeds out all I see is a medium size gray bird like the tufted titmouse.

This is the woodpecker that we have:



https://permies.com/t/147320/Permaculture-Affected-Personal-Life


I made the recipe that I posted only I only make a fourth of it to see if the birds like it.  The directions say she puts it in a zip lock bag and uses an ice cream scoop to put a scoop in her feeder. The mixture is crumbly like streusel.

If I had oranges that would be perfect to hang from a tree limb.  I put a small bowl with a couple of raisins and peanuts to see that would attract the birds.

Thanks, everyone!
 
Lorinne Anderson
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Best guess, some kind of flicker - is it "crow-ish" in size? If so, the stuffed orange likely won't work as it would be too small - they would need an upside down feeder or a vertical one with a tail stand.
 
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