Woodpeckers in the garden

Hi all,

I live on an estate that backs on to Parkhall Country park. There are one or two other streets between my house and the country park, and also an 'A' road, but it's less than a tenth of a mile away.

I want to attract more birds in my garden - woodpeckers being one of them. I've seen a few of you guys put images up of woodpeckers in your gardens, so of course it's possible. Any tips - will they generally venture away from the forests, across roads?

I'm still very new to the bird world... ;)



  • In reply to doggie:

    The key is habitat with greens and great spot's - your garden not only needs to provide them with the right food but the right cover as well.

    If your own garden and neighbours, and also the gardens between the wood and your garden have mature trees then it is more likely the woodpeckers will leave the woodland and explore the surrounding area for food. Whilst they may cross open expanses of gardens, roads and houses, the trees will act as staging points allowing them to move more safely. If you have not got any trees then if you have the space think about planting some, a silver birch would be a good start.

    The right sort of foods to offer for great spot's are as Alan suggests, suet based products, peanuts in a cage feeder and seed. They may also take mealworms. A good way to feed woodpeckers is to get a fatball or home made suet cake and rub it into the deeper cracks in the bark of a tree, this also works for nuthatches and tits.

    Green woodpeckers mostly feed on ants so firstly don't use any ant killer and secondly create areas of short and long grass in your garden lawns to create a mix of habitat for them to hunt their ant prey.

    Warden Intern at Otmoor.

  • In reply to IanH:

    Excellent advice guys, thanks. I can't plant trees, because I don't have the space. I have a bunch of tall conifers at the bottom of the garden, but they won't be much help (they keep it nice and private from neighbors though). I guess by putting a variety of other food out, it will help to attract many other birds though.

    Thanks again,


  • In reply to David Nixon:

    Hi Dave and welcome to the world of bird feeding. It can become quite addictive but can also dent your wallet.

    As doggie says suet products and peanuts are the favourites of GS Woodpeckers. I use suet pellets in wire mesh feeders and similarly with peanuts. Please don't put peanuts in plastic mesh bags because they can trap birds feet.

    I live in a fairly built up area not near woods but there are plenty of large mature trees around. If there are woodpeckers around they will probably find the food but it might take a while.

    Attracting Green Woodpeckers is very much hit and miss. Ian has given you good advice about creating the right sort of habitat. I don't do anything special but they do turn up occasionally to give the lawn a good working over. I even had one visit during last winter's snow.

    For attracting other birds, sunflower hearts in suitable feeders are very popular with many species including finches and tits.

    Good luck and let us know how you get on.



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Brilliant, and thanks. I'll keep you posted. Great photos TJ.