Northern Flicker

From the tree to the suet feeder, back to the tree, on to the hopper feeder and then back to the tree. What in the world is that woodpecker doing? Most likely, it’s looking for dinner.

Woodpeckers spend most of their waking hours looking for food. They especially like insects, suet and seeds. In the winter, woodpeckers frequent feeders, but some also eat seeds and insects they stashed away earlier in the year. Unfortunately, much of this cached food is eaten by other birds and critters that find it.


Hairy Woodpecker

Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers rarely store any winter food, relying instead on the ever-diminishing supply of insects and bugs. That’s why providing your woodpeckers and other backyard visitors with fresh birdseed and suet is important to helping them survive the harshest winter conditions.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker

In cold weather, all birds need more food so they can generate the energy they need to stay warm. And don’t forget water. It’s important for birds to drink to remain hydrated, but they need to be able to bathe, too. Clean feathers are more efficient at trapping air to provide insulation from the cold. Additionally, flight is more aerodynamic and requires less energy when feathers are clean.

So keep fresh food and open water available for your backyard birds. They will reward you with color on even the dreariest of winter days.