How to Attract Downy Woodpecker

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BE AWARE THAT HABITAT TYPE MORE THAN ANY OTHER FACTOR, WILL IN MOST CASES, DICTATE THE SPECIES OF BIRD THAT VISIT YOUR PROPERTY. 

Description: The smallest and most common of North American Woodpeckers, the Downy happens to be one of the easiest to attract. Suet is at the top of the Downy Woodpecker’s menu but it will also eat Sunflower Seed and Peanut. Wild sources of food include beetle larvae and caterpillars (an insect-friendly yard is key to attracting Downy Woodpecker). For nesting it creates a cavity in dead trees but may use a nesting box if built to the correct specifications. The Downy doesn’t commonly use birdbaths but may occasionally take a drink from one. 

Overview

Identification:

  • Small-sized woodpecker (smaller than similar-looking Hairy Woodpecker)

  • Male: checkered black/white, red spot on back of head

  • Female: checkered black/white, no spot on back of head

Habitat:

  • Deciduous Forest/Forest Edge

  • Open Woodland

  • Backyards with Trees

Eating Habits:

  • Mainly Insects (especially Caterpillars, Beetle Larvae, Ants)

  • Some Seeds, Grains, Berries, Bird Feed (especially in winter)

Nesting:

  • Cavity in Dead Trees

  • Will use Nesting Box

Top Ways to Attract Downy Woodpecker

Suet     Beech     Insect-Friendly Yard     Sunflower Seed     Dead Trees

Trees & Shrubs that Attract Downy Woodpecker

Aspen (Nesting)     Beech (Nuts)     Blackgum (Fruit)     Dead Tree (Nesting, Insects)     Hackberry (Fruit)     Hickory (Nuts)     Maple (Insects)     Oak (Acorns, Insects)       Wild Cherry (Fruit)

Flowers & Shrubs that Attract Downy Woodpecker

New England Aster (Seeds)     Purple Coneflower (Seeds)     Sunflower (Seeds)     Virginia Creeper (Fruit)     Wild Grape (Fruit)

Attracting Downy Woodpecker with a Bird Feeder

Feeder Type:     Hopper     Platform     Suet Feeder

Feed:     Mealworms     Peanut     Suet     Sunflower Seed