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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  • I’ve been enjoying goldfinches eating coneflower/ echinacea seeds in my new pollinator garden! I will leave the plants out all winter for them if the seeds keep that long? Or should I deadhead and put them in a dry area? Im in CT and thought they migrated, but didn’t know they put in winter coats! What do they eat in winter without bird feeders?
    by Anne Sheffield, Sat, 04 Sep 2021
  • Hi Gary, I will pass your question along to Birdsquatch next time I see him. He knows infinitely more about nocturnal wildlife than I do. Where do you live? That's pretty important in figuring out the answer. But the thief could be raccoons, deer, or flying squirrels. Do you live in the woods? Are there trees near your feeder, or must the culprit climb a shepherd's hook or pole? Dawn Hewitt, Watching Backyard Birds
    by Dawn Hewitt, Mon, 30 Aug 2021
  • This breaks my heart. God strengthen your spirit and comfort your heart.I am fortunate to be taking a vacation next month, hopefully before sky high inflation hits and I can no longer afford it.
    by Ironweeds, Fri, 27 Aug 2021
  • What is emptying my jelly feeder overnight.
    by Gary Vandervest, Wed, 25 Aug 2021
  • Thank you, Dawn. I'm close enough to Ohio (Ann Arbor, Michigan) that I went ahead and took my tubes down and scoured clean all my bird baths. I won't put up my tubes this winter, just my trays and safflower only just to keep the bullies away for a while.
    by Pat Moore, Mon, 09 Aug 2021