Humming Bird

Do Woodpeckers Drink From Hummingbird Feeders?

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correct answerThe Short Answer is:
Yes, woodpeckers do occasionally drink from hummingbird feeders. While woodpeckers are primarily insect-eaters, they will sometimes consume nectar, which is found in hummingbird feeders. Providing saucer-style nectar feeders can be effective for feeding woodpeckers. Some woodpeckers may cling to a variety of cage feeders, and woodpeckers will also cling to dried sunflower heads to feed directly from the plants.

Woodpeckers are a common sight in many backyards, and bird enthusiasts often wonder if these birds drink from hummingbird feeders. Hummingbird feeders are designed to attract hummingbirds, but other birds may also be attracted to the sweet nectar.

Woodpeckers are one such bird that has been known to visit hummingbird feeders. In this article, we will explore the topic: Do Woodpeckers Drink From Hummingbird Feeders, and what you can do to attract or deter them?

Woodpeckers That Drink From Hummingbird Feeders

Woodpeckers are known to drink from hummingbird feeders, and this behavior is perfectly normal for them. They are used to the sweet treat of tree sap, so it’s no surprise they would try their luck with the hummingbird feeder.

Smaller species, such as the Downy, are common visitors to hummingbird feeders. However, larger woodpeckers like the Northern Flicker may also take a sip if they are able to get solid footing, which can sometimes be problematic as they may damage the feeder ports or bee guards trying to get to the nectar.

Other birds may also visit hummingbird feeders out of curiosity or to pluck morsels off the feeder, even though they aren’t directly interested in the nectar itself.

Some of the North American birds that might be seen drinking from hummingbird feeders include orioles, tanagers, chickadees, titmice, gray catbirds, finches, verdins, warblers, and escaped or naturalized parrots.

Reasons Woodpeckers Drink From Hummingbird Feeders

Woodpeckers are known to drink from hummingbird feeders, and there are several reasons why they might do so. Here are some possible reasons:

  • Sweet tooth: Woodpeckers are used to the sweet taste of tree sap, so they may be attracted to the sugary nectar in hummingbird feeders.
  • Curiosity: Woodpeckers, like many other birds, may investigate hummingbird feeders out of curiosity.
  • Food source: While woodpeckers are not nectar feeders, they may still be attracted to the insects that are drawn to the nectar.

Identifying Woodpeckers at Hummingbird Feeders

To identify woodpeckers at hummingbird feeders, you can look for the following characteristics:

  1. Behavior: Woodpeckers may visit hummingbird feeders to drink nectar. They will often extend their long tongues into the feeder. They may also be seen chasing away other birds, such as hummingbirds, from the feeder.
  2. Appearance: Woodpeckers have distinct markings and features that can help with identification. Some common woodpecker species that may visit hummingbird feeders include the Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Red-bellied Woodpecker46. Here are some identifying markings for a few woodpecker species:
    • Downy Woodpecker: Small size, black and white plumage, white belly, and a red patch on the back of the crown in males.
    • Red-bellied Woodpecker: Medium size, boldly patterned black and white plumage, prominent white cheek, and a red spot at the back of the crown in males.
    • Northern Flicker: Medium to large size, brown plumage with black bars on the back, a white rump patch, and a red or yellow patch on the nape.
  3. Location: Woodpecker species can vary depending on the region. It’s helpful to know which woodpecker species are common in your area to narrow down the possibilities.

Remember, woodpeckers visiting hummingbird feeders is a normal behavior, and the hummingbirds usually don’t mind their presence. Enjoy observing these fascinating birds as they visit your feeders!

The Impact of Woodpeckers on Hummingbird Feeders

Woodpeckers are known to drink from hummingbird feeders. While this behavior is normal for woodpeckers, it can impact hummingbird feeding behavior. Here are some ways in which woodpeckers can impact hummingbird feeders:

  • Competition for Nectar: Woodpeckers have long tongues that enable them to reach the nectar in hummingbird feeders. This can lead to competition for nectar between woodpeckers and hummingbirds.
  • Feeder Damage: Woodpeckers that are particularly determined might damage the feeder ports or bee guards trying to get to the nectar.

Keeping Woodpeckers Away From Hummingbird Feeders

Here are some ways to keep woodpeckers away from hummingbird feeders:

  • Distance: Place your hummingbird feeder at a maximum distance from berries and fruit trees to reduce the traffic from woodpeckers.
  • Hardware cloth: Cover the feeder with hardware cloth, which is a fine metal mesh that blocks woodpeckers from accessing the feeder.
  • Perchless feeder: Use a perchless feeder to prevent woodpeckers from using it. You can also fit a CD on the top to discourage the birds from landing.
  • Water: Use a squirt gun filled with water to deter woodpeckers from approaching the feeder.
  • Separate feeder: Put out a separate hummingbird feeder for the woodpecker close to their food sources.
  • Woodpecker-proof feeder: Use a woodpecker-proof hummingbird feeder. These feeders usually have tubes that prevent other birds from sipping nectar from the feeder.

Providing Alternative Food Sources for Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers primarily rely on insects for their food, but they can also supplement their diet with other food sources such as fruits, nuts, and suet. Providing alternative food sources for woodpeckers can help attract them to your garden and reduce their interest in hummingbird feeders.

Here are some options:

  • Nuts: Woodpeckers are attracted to nuts, such as peanuts or almonds. You can offer them in a bird feeder or scatter them on a platform or tray.
  • Fruits: Woodpeckers may eat fruits, especially those with high sugar content. Apples, oranges, and berries can be sliced or cut into small pieces and placed on a feeding station.
  • Suet: Suet is a high-energy food made from animal fat. Woodpeckers are known to enjoy suet cakes or suet balls, which can be hung in a suet feeder.
  • Mealworms: Mealworms are a good source of protein for woodpeckers. You can offer live or dried mealworms in a specialized mealworm feeder or dish.

By providing these alternative food sources, you can create a more diverse and appealing environment for woodpeckers, which may help divert their attention from hummingbird feeders.

Remember to place the food sources in areas where woodpeckers are likely to visit, such as near trees or in quiet corners of your garden.

Other Birds That Visit Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders can attract a variety of birds and other wildlife besides hummingbirds. Some birds may visit the feeders out of curiosity or to pluck insects that sip on the nectar.

Other birds that are regularly seen at nectar feeders, besides hummingbirds, include bananaquits, chickadees, goldfinches, house finches, orioles, verdins, warblers, and woodpeckers. Some birds, such as woodpeckers, are used to the sweet treat of tree sap and may try their luck with the hummingbird feeder.

Other birds that may visit hummingbird feeders include tanagers, gray catbirds, and escaped or naturalized parrots.

It is important to note that larger birds may scare hummingbirds away from the feeders, so it may be necessary to use feeders with bee guards or to place the feeders in areas where larger birds are less likely to visit.

Additionally, woodpeckers that are particularly determined may damage the feeder ports or bee guards trying to get to the nectar, so it may be helpful to put out a suet feeder for the woodpeckers instead.

Overall, attracting additional birds to the yard can be a treat, even if they are not the intended visitors of the hummingbird feeders.

Wildlife That Visits Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbird feeders can attract a variety of wildlife, including birds, insects, and mammals. Some birds, such as orioles, are attracted to nectar and may try to eat from hummingbird feeders.

Other birds that may visit hummingbird feeders include bananaquits, chickadees, goldfinches, house finches, verdins, warblers, and woodpeckers. Insects that sip on the nectar may also attract insectivorous birds that pluck morsels off the feeder, even though the birds aren’t directly interested in the nectar itself.

Mammals that may visit hummingbird feeders include bears, bats, and raccoons. To keep hummingbird feeders free from pests, it is important to keep the feeders tidy and assembled securely to prevent nectar from dripping and attracting insects.

In areas where there are bears, it is recommended to hang the hummingbird feeder at least 10 feet in the air to keep it out of reach. Overall, hummingbird feeders can attract a wide variety of wildlife, making them a great addition to any backyard.

Frequently Asked Questions Related to the Topic:

Can woodpeckers damage or break hummingbird feeders?

Yes, woodpeckers can damage or break hummingbird feeders. They can deter hummingbirds from visiting the feeders and cause damage to them.

How can I discourage woodpeckers from frequenting the hummingbird feeder?

To discourage woodpeckers from frequenting the hummingbird feeder, you can try the following methods:

  1. Increase Distance: Place the hummingbird feeder at a maximum distance from berries and fruit trees, as woodpeckers are often attracted to these sources of food.
  2. Cover with Hardware Cloth: Use fine metal mesh, such as hardware cloth, to cover the feeder and prevent woodpeckers from accessing it.
  3. Use a Perchless Feeder: Opt for a perchless feeder design, which makes it more difficult for woodpeckers to land and access the nectar. You can also attach a CD on top of the feeder to further discourage the birds from landing.
  4. Visual Deterrents: Employ visual deterrents, such as hanging shiny objects or wind chimes near the feeder, to discourage woodpeckers from approaching.

Remember to be patient and consistent with these methods, as it may take some time for the woodpeckers to change their behavior.

Are there specific types of woodpeckers that visit hummingbird feeders more often?

Yes, some types of woodpeckers do visit hummingbird feeders. Some of the most common species include the Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Red-Bellied Woodpecker.

However, other birds may also visit hummingbird feeders out of curiosity or to feed on insects that sip on the nectar.

Conclusion: Do Woodpeckers Drink From Hummingbird Feeders?

In conclusion, woodpeckers do drink from hummingbird feeders, but it is not their preferred source of food. Woodpeckers are not common visitors to hummingbird feeders.

However, some species, such as the Downy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, and Red-bellied Woodpecker, have been known to enjoy dipping their beaks into nectar feeders.

However, woodpeckers may damage the feeder ports or bee guards trying to get to the nectar, especially if they are particularly determined.

It is not harmful for larger birds to drink from hummingbird feeders, especially if it is just an occasional occurrence. Other birds that may drink from hummingbird feeders include orioles, tanagers, chickadees, titmice, gray catbirds, finches, verdins, warblers, and escaped or naturalized parrots.

Mary Cynthia

Mary Cynthia is a passionate author who pours her love for birds into her captivating blog posts. With her extensive knowledge of avian species and habitats, she shares fascinating insights, nurturing a sense of wonder and appreciation for these beautiful creatures. Through her engaging storytelling, she invites readers into the enchanting world of birds, fostering a deeper connection with nature.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is an esteemed author and content reviewer whose profound love for birds has shaped his life and writing. With an unquenchable curiosity and deep appreciation for avian wonders, he delves into the world of ornithology, capturing the essence of birds in his eloquent prose.

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