Best Ways To Attract Woodpeckers To Your Backyard

* Guest post by Brett Lewis

The woodpecker is known for the distinct sounds it makes when it drills holes in trees. Some people find the drumming of woodpecker bills to be an annoying racket. I find it quite soothing and riveting to watch. For those of you who share a common interest in these fascinating birds, or those people that enjoy the sight of them and the sounds that they make, this article will highlight the best ways to attract woodpeckers to your backyard. 

There are many types of woodpeckers, including the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Red-Headed Woodpecker, Red-Bellied Woodpecker, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and many more varieties.

Food That Woodpeckers Love!

Contrary to what one particular cartoon would have you believe, a woodpecker’s diet does not revolve around wood. Instead, woodpeckers have a rather omnivorous diet. The primary reason for drilling into trees is to find the larvae or eggs of insects that are inside. They also drill holes in the bark to gain access to the sweet sap it produces when wounded, which becomes an additional food source for woodpeckers. When they are not drilling, they scavenge for berries and nuts. 

You can usually spot woodpeckers on pine trees and oaks. The former for their sweet sap and seeds and the latter for their acorns. They can also be found drilling into spruce, birch, sweetgum, and fruit trees for similar reasons. If you have any of those trees in your garden or your backyard, it is more likely for woodpeckers to come for a quick visit.

Put out a suet block. Woodpeckers love this stuff. They like it so much because suet is a valuable high energy source for birds, especially in the winter months. You can buy bird products that contain suet to place in birdfeeders. Be sure to hang your suet birdfeeder at the height of 10 to 20 feet. As a bonus, suet also attracts various other birds making birdwatching in your backyard more interesting and fun.

Is your backyard sparse of trees? You can get a bird feeder with a tail prop! With one of these, a woodpecker leaning its tail feathers on it can support itself while perched. Woodpeckers usually feed in a vertical position, so a bird feeder that can accommodate their natural feeding stance comes highly recommended.

Planting berry bushes in your backyard is also another option for attracting woodpeckers. Although you have to wait until the bush grows and bears fruit, this is a more attractive option for people who want a more natural approach for attracting birds.


Setting up a birdbath is one way of attracting birds to your backyard. It provides birds a place to clean themselves and a place to drink water. 

Woodpeckers prefer quieter places away from other birds. So if you want your birdbath to attract them, place your birdbath in a more isolated and shady area or set up multiple birdbaths; one to accommodate the rowdier birds and another for the shy woodpeckers.

Shelter Made For Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers usually nest in the holes they have drilled into trees themselves. It takes a pair of them about one to two weeks to carve a hole into a tree so that they can use it as a nesting site. Leaving dead trees and stumps in your garden is a way to encourage woodpeckers to make a nest near your garden but be sure to remove or trim those that can present a hazard to your property. 

If you do not have any dead trees or stumps lying in your backyard, then a birdhouse is a satisfactory alternative. If there is already a suitable and vacant place to nest, they will surely not pass on that opportunity. Also, woodpeckers perch at heights of 10-20 feet; be sure to place the birdhouse in that range. 


There are many ways the shy woodpecker can be lured into your backyard. Placing things around your backyard that tend to the woodpecker’s needs will surely attract them. Do not expect woodpeckers to appear instantly! Attracting woodpeckers to your backyard requires patience and persistence. With a little bit of work, your backyard will also become a hotspot for these fascinating birds.


Nikki is an author and writer specializing in green living ideas and tips, adventure travel, upcycling, and all things eco-friendly. She's traveled the globe, swum with sharks and been bitten by a lion (fact). She lives in a tiny town with a fat cat and a very bad dog.

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