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encouraging the local woodpecker to come back to the garden

we have a local woodpecker and im looking for ways for him to come near the garden again so i can photograph him, today (or yesterday) he came to a tree on the other side of the fence and then to my berry suet block in my feeder. i'm hoping he'll come back again (i acidently made a loud noise while on the phone when i saw him) but what can i use to tempt him in again? penuts? more berry-block?

i am very lucky in that the woodland my house backs onto (or is surounded by) brings alot of birds into the garden- we even have a blue tit nest! and also that my terrible trio of dogs love birds and dont chase them (a woodpeigeon was once sat on the fence with my youngest dog sat on the floor by it) so i am really hoping to be able to catch my elusive mr woodpecker on film image



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,736

    In my experience it's the suet blocks that draw the Gt Spotted Woodpeckers to the garden - I get them coming to the blocks at work and here in our new garden. At work the gardens are really quiet during the day and they visit (with a juvenile) all day, whereas here at home it tends to be very early morning that they're about (although as I'm usually at work during the day I suppose they might come when I'm out as well).

    I find the suet blocks with insects in are the most successful. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • Gary HobsonGary Hobson Posts: 1,892

    I find that the black-and-white (lesser) woodpeckers find peanuts attractive. I have a peanut feeder with a squirrel cage around it. The woodpeckers can't get inside the cage, but their beaks are still long enough to enable them to reach the nuts.

    One of the other forum members posted a photo of two woodpeckers on a feeder, a couple of weeks ago.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,801

    A few years ago we had two families of greater spotted woodpeckers visiting our garden and training their young to come and feed so now there are several visitors.  One lot prefer the fat and seed balls and the other lot prefer peanuts.   It's great fun seeing them feeding their young and now we have them all year round, especially in hard winters and at nesting and fledging time.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RobotRobot Posts: 137

    The key is consistency and patience.  If the woodpecker has been for a visit and liked what he got then he'll be back provided you keep supplying what he wants.  Their eyesight is phenomenal and you will not get anywhere near to photograph him without a long lens and a bit of cloak and dagger.  I truly envy those photographers who get amazing shots.  

    Anyway,  I took this in the winter through my patio door so it's not a clear shot.  She was about 6 meters away - which is very near - but I was completely covered by the curtains with just the camera lens poking through.  Even so, she knew I was there.  Hope to see your photos here soon - good luck.



    I do see them still at the bottom of the garden but they don't come near the house as we are outside quite a lot now.  There have been one or two green ones too and I would love to get a photo of them.  I've moved a bird feeder further down the garden so if a fairy brings me a really good telephoto lens, then perhaps.......


  • KezzaKezza Posts: 90

    Hi one girl and her dog(s)


    here's another one girl and her dog(s) image


    I have the black and white woodpeckers here (north east Scotland).


    I find that mine like the peanuts most.  He / she visits from time to time, but you do have to be SO STILL so as not to scare them, the feeder is outside my front room window, about 10 foot away.  They do always know you're there, as Robot says their eyesight is phenomenal !!  It's a pleasure to see them though, so if I see one, I have to play 'statues' for about 5 minutes til they're finished feeding image

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,027

    Lesser spotted ones rarely come down from the tree tops where they live and are not often seen in gardens. The green woodpecker will come and feed on the ground in gardens if it finds a nice handy ants nest. The greater spotted woodpecker loves peanuts. As I came in there were 7 of them around waiting for me to go in so they could continue feeding. They are very agressive towards each other and other birds.

  • peanuts are our woodpecker's favourites, I have one feeder right outside my kitchen window which they frequent but the one hanging under the wooden birdtable is favourite - they peck the wood as they creep up the post then onto the nuts.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 28,801

    I've noticed that aggression too Berghill but have enough feeders spread around the garden for the other birds to cope since the woodpeckers avoid the ones nearest the house and human traffic.

    They have comic aspects too.  Yesterday my daughter and I were in stitches watching a baby trying to balance on our large guage wire mesh fence.   It wobbled and wobbled and almost did a somersault before regaining stability - several times.


    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • thanks everybody for the advice, i'm out shopping for pet suplies tomorrow so will be picking up some penuts and more suet blocks. 

    to robot, its a good pic image and i have two large lenses so i should be able to get a good close-up, hopefully image

    to berghill, when the woodpecker was around all the magpies suddenly got very loud, could this have been because of the woodpecker?

    i'll post my results image

  • PalustrisPalustris Posts: 4,027

    Forgot to mention, they are very messy feeders so they sprinkle bits of peanut all over the floor below the feeders. Good for ground feeding birds like our resident pheasants though.

    The only time our magpies get really loud in the day is when the buzzard or the crows are around.

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