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Bay Area Bird Blog » A woodpecker at the bird feeder? Really?
June
1st 2008
A woodpecker at the bird feeder? Really?

Posted under bird behavior & local birds

I swear, I am not making this up: today I saw a woodpecker at the finch feeder in our front yard.  It’s a tube feeder with a cage around it (so squirrels can’t get at it); we load it with finch food and thistle, and mostly get finches and sparrows, and towhees that come and feed on the stuff that fall on the ground. (No suet, no nuts, nothing I would have thought would interest a woodpecker).  But today, I rounded the corner of the house and saw a woodpecker hanging onto the cage; it immediately flew away.  I confess that I’m not exactly sure what it was — perhaps the nutall’s that has visited recently.  But what the hell was it doing, hanging onto our feeder full of seeds and thistle?  Perhaps peering at the holes, thinking they look like holes in a tree branch that might have grubs in ‘em?  Has anybody seen this before?

2 Responses to “A woodpecker at the bird feeder? Really?”

  1. John on 02 Jun 2008 at 10:43 am #

    I think I have seen woodpeckers at sunflower seed feeders but not at thistle feeders. They might have some interest in the sunflower seeds. There is also a good chance of finding arthropods in the feeders, which I think is why wrens will sometimes visit the sunflower feeder.

  2. admin on 02 Jun 2008 at 12:20 pm #

    John, both of those hypotheses suggest that this woodpecker knows about feeders in general, and just hadn’t yet learned that _our_ feeder happens to not have anything he (or she) is interested in. That makes a lot of sense, I hadn’t thought of that! Thanks.
    –Phil

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