Oct 17, 2018 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, October 2018

Woodpecker-Friendly Suet Feeders

A woodpecker partakes from a backyard suet feeder.

If you get the chance, take a good look at a woodpecker's tail feathers. From the dinky downy to the massive pileated, woodpecker tail feathers are unlike the feathers on the bird's body or wings: They're super strong and rigid, and collectively serve as a stable prop against a tree trunk as a woodpecker hammers it with its bill. A suet feeder designed with a tail prop extending below the suet dispenser mimics a tree trunk and allows woodpeckers to feel comfortable and secure as they dine. Sure, woodpeckers do visit platform, hopper, and even the occasional tube feeder that lacks a tail prop, but a suet feeder with a tail prop, or one hanging against a solid surface such as a tree trunk, is even more attractive to them.

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  • New to birding...newbie question. We spotted what we thought was a Sapsucker at our patio feeders in December. The folks at our birding supply store told us that Sapsuckers are only here in Summer months and what we saw was a Flicker. I thought I new what a Flicker was and this did not look like a Flicker. It was thinner and more smooth looking but did have the Woodpecker Bill.
    by Edmund Steinman, Wed, 08 Jan 2020
  • We just signed up and get your magazine via email. Will we be receiving a printed copy?Ed [email protected]
    by Edmund Steinman, Wed, 08 Jan 2020
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    by Merl Elton, Tue, 24 Dec 2019
  • I'm still worried about my backyard birds even though myth #3 says they won't starve if I stop feeding in the middle of winter. I'm concerned because I'm moving in a couple of weeks to a new house and the winter's in northern Ohio get pretty challenging. Should I start backing off slowly on there food or just stop when we move?
    by Vince Bove, Sat, 14 Dec 2019
  • Birds make our world a wonderful and beautiful place to live.
    by Mac Eco, Mon, 09 Dec 2019