A Downy Girl Drops by the Buffet

I’ve posted before about my exploits creating a woodpecker feeder for my wild bird buffet. I have one very consistent customer – a red-bellied woodpecker who shows up almost daily. But recently a lovely little girl has been dropping by. She’s a little shy and not too sure about that big feeder, but she’s clearly attracted to the suet section of the buffet.

She’s a Downy Woodpecker – just a bit bigger than a nuthatch with a similar acrobatic flying style. She’s easily spooked so I stayed very still to get some shots of her…





The light was perfect the evening I shot these. No editing, no cropping, just straight out of camera goodness. These are 4 of the six shots I got off before she departed. Sometimes things just work out that way.

I’m hoping she returns often and gives that fancy feeder a try. She seems to prefer peanut suet to the berry that the others like – I’ll be adding it to the menu.

Woody at the Feeder

In my post from yesterday I mentioned a woodpecker feeder. A friend told me about this feeder and it’s pretty simple and ingenious –
1. Take an old log, I used a downed cedar from my woods – drill 1 1/4″ holes about an inch deep around the surface. I specifically drilled the holes on a side that would face the spot where I shoot photos.
2. Attach it to something that will let it stand vertical like a tree – a fence post will do, I attached mine to the large cedar that holds up my pergola.
3. Fill the holes with suet. I also filled the cracks in the log.

My friend says it’s like a social program where you are giving a handout and making the little buggers work for it.

Here’s one of my feeders – nice and rustic…


Tonight Woody stopped by – first he landed on the top of the pergola .


He takes a look around to make sure the coast is clear – today he must have been really hungry because my Goldendoodle was sitting about 6 feet away from the feeder watching him.


He lands and takes another look around…


Scopes out the situation…


And digs into that suet.


He stays vigilant…


And digs into the suet again.


See the look of satisfaction on his face?


He looks like he could use a napkin.

Rat-a-tat-tat – Woody’s Back


Woodpeckers are shy. This is a red-bellied woodpecker who hangs out in my yard. My suet feeders were up for over 3 months before he dared get close. Here he sits on top of my pergola, deciding whether or not to go for the feeder


He stayed up there for about 30 minutes checking to see if it was safe. He did this several times before he decided it was safe to try out the suet.


Eventually his appetite overcame his fear and he made the leap. It was clear right away that he was too much bird for a feeder like this.


I’ve built him a feeder out of an old dead cedar tree – I have seen him using it, but haven’t managed to catch him with my camera – yet. I drilled 1 1/4″ holes into the log and filled the holes with suet. The little guy loves it, its like his own personal suet tree.


By far his favorite place is my black walnut tree just off my patio. He paces along the limbs, scouting the feeders and tapping on the old tree.


He has a distinctive call, it’s really more of a cry. It sounds mournful, sad – in contrast to his chipper face.


I can hear him in the woods near the house. He flies in long sweeping arcs from tree to tree.


I hear his tap and I know he’s back.