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Feeding Wild Birds: Products for Woodpeckers, Nuthatches, Chickadees and other “Avian Athletes”


Some of the most entertaining birds that come readily to winter-time bird feeders are those that cling, crawl and climb…many are more reminiscent of parrots than of the typical perching birds (i.e. robins) with which they co-exist.  Chief among these are the woodpeckers, with the downy, red-headed and red-bellied being particularly common feeder visitors, and they are quite comical to watch as they jockey for position at suet feeders.

Acrobatic Insect-Specialists

Many specialized products are advertised as “woodpecker feeders/foods”, but there are actually a number of equally entertaining birds that relish the same foods and are able to cling, often upside down, to “woodpecker feeders”.  Tufted titmice, black-capped chickadees, brown creepers and red-breasted nuthatches are common in much of the country, and are all likely to show up if you put out foods designed to attract woodpeckers.

Most of these forage for insects by clinging to tree trunks and branches with highly specialized feet.  They search below the bark, peering intently into holes and crevices and scurrying about in the manner of tiny rodents.  All favor high protein diets (in winter they subsist largely upon hibernating insects and overwintering eggs and pupae) and relish suet bars.

Feeders for Woodpeckers and Similar Birds

The log jammer, wire suet basket and similar products are specially designed for these acrobatic little birds, and largely exclude other species.  Attaching them to a small swivel or thin, wind-blown branch will challenge the bird’s abilities (don’t worry, they are up to it!) and bring you many hours of bird-watching pleasure.


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