January 21, 2016

These beautiful  Red-Bellied Woodpeckers are  daily visitors  to  my backyard, both at the suet feeder and also drinking from my bird bath all year round.

Hang some suet and the woodpeckers will come.  It  is a woodpecker  magnet.   All  birds, not just woodpeckers,   need  a higher  fat content  of food to give them energy and help keep them warm in the winter but I keep suet available year round and it’s always a popular stop for a bite.


Starlings love suet also and come in multiples which  can  be a problem mostly because they chase all of the welcome  birds away.  Here is a novel moment when everyone is getting along and  sharing – or so I thought.  The moment I put my camera down this Red-Bellied Woodpecker leaned over and grabbed the tail feathers of the Starling!


If you  have trouble telling the difference between a Downy Woodpecker and  a Hairy Woodpecker it helps to have them side by side.  I was so lucky to capture  this rare moment when both came to feast at the same time.   The Hairy Woodpecker is bigger and has a longer  peak.

DSCF7914   DSCF7913

The Eurasian  Sparrows, along with many other song birds,  frequent the suet feeder also, but sometimes only as a resting spot.


The  Northern  Flicker eats suet but also digs at the ground frequently for food.

yellow bellied sapsucker

This juvenile Yellow- Bellied Sap Sucker Woodpecker surprised me for the 1st time on Christmas Day.


But today he ( she?) showed up again and nibbled for quite a while.  Temps were  below freezing today so he was all puffed up to keep warm.  “A bird’s body heat warms the air between its feathers, so  birds fluff up in the cold to trap as much air in their feathers as possible. The more trapped air, the warmer the bird” says  Peter Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center at the National Zoo.


Last photo of the  suet -fest is the male Downy Woodpecker  (with a red spot on his head) and the Red-Bellied Woodpecker peacefully eating  together.   If  these photos have inspired you to hang a suet feeder – they comes in many shapes and styles.   I am pretty sure I own them all  and they all will attract birds,  but this kind with the tail prop makes it easiest for the larger woodpeckers to come feed.   As for the suet flavors – I have served them all  and none have been wasted!

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed my feathered friends!






2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Judy Ludwig
    Jan 22, 2016 @ 07:40:38

    I love birds they are so entertaining. I had the wire cage and the squirrel was so smart he opened and enjoyed what was inside. I need one like yours too! I think those birds are being treated as well as your dog and know where they need to go for all of their needs!



  2. Amy Weisser
    Jan 21, 2016 @ 23:06:43

    What a show! Guess I need a better suet feeder——mine is the hang-down wire cage, I like yours better! Thanks for sharing, Jeannie!



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