Winter Woodpeckers

I started this post a while back but got distracted. Yesterday’s snow (3 days after hail) the day of the time change reminded me that winter is just about over so I figured now or never.

It took a while for the woodpeckers to start showing up at my feeders. Initially, I would have to spot them in the trees. For instance, the only time I’ve seen a Pileated Woodpecker in real life is when I was looking out one of my front windows and saw this GIANT guy in the walnut tree out front.

Until that point, I always thought Woody the Woodpecker got his name from an exaggerated version of a Red-headed Woodpecker. Not the case! Needless to say, this guy soon became known as “Woody”. Unfortunately, I have not had the opportunity to see him very often but they are supposed to be permanent residents of the state, so I keep my eyes pealed.

On another occasion, one of the trees out back had a bird in it I didn’t recognize. It showed up a day or two in a row, so I was finally able to see it with the binoculars. Still, it took me a few days to identify it. I had never heard of a brown, spotted woodpecker. Apparently, they are called Northern Flickers. Just the other day I saw two, a male and a female, in my side yard. While I do occasionally see them on my back hill, lately I’ve seen them in my side yard more often. I suspect there is a nest somewhere close.

Once it got colder, I began to put out suet to see how the birds liked it. Well, they didn’t… at first and for a while. Eventually, the birds became quite enamored of the suet. I had experimented with different kinds and try to keep the rendered beef fat and nuts as the main ingredients. They seem to appreciate that, especially the Hairy Woodpeckers (and occasionally the smaller Downy Woodpeckers). They visit the suet feeders the most often.

One morning, I was making coffee and glanced out the kitchen window to the front feeders and immediately starting giggling. There was a very large (Red-bellied) woodpecker hanging tight trying to get to the seed. I had seen her in the trees in previous days, so it was really exciting to see her at my feeder.

Not long after, I noticed a rather large tail on the underside of the suet feeder. After watching for a while, I realized it was a Red-bellied Woodpecker like I had seen out front. I knew at that point that they quickly learned the location of ALL the feeders. It seems the female likes the front feeder and  both the female and males like the back suet feeder.


For a while, I would even see the Red-bellied Woodpecker on the ground below the feeder in my side yard, but that feeder recently broke so I have one less bird-watching location until I can replace it with another large and sturdy feeder.

There are other woodpeckers in the area, but I haven’t seen them at the feeders… yet. I await them with bated breath.


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