Woodpecker at Hummingbird Feeder (What to Do)

Watching hummingbirds flutter around a feeder can be a relaxing and enjoyable activity. However, when woodpeckers show up and cause damage to your feeder, it can quickly become frustrating. Woodpeckers are large birds with powerful beaks that can do significant damage to plastic, glass, and metal feeders.

There are several reasons why woodpeckers are attracted to hummingbird feeders, including the sweetness of the nectar and the opportunity to prey on smaller birds. Thankfully, there are several simple strategies that you can follow to deter woodpeckers and prevent them from damaging your hummingbird feeder.

Woodpecker at Hummingbird Feeder (What to Do)

Key Takeaways:

  • Woodpeckers can cause significant damage to hummingbird feeders.
  • There are many reasons why woodpeckers are attracted to hummingbird feeders.
  • Preventing woodpecker damage requires a combination of effective strategies and products.
  • Maintaining hummingbird feeders is crucial to attract these beautiful birds while keeping woodpeckers away.
  • By acting proactively, you can discourage woodpeckers and enjoy the beauty of hummingbirds without interference.

Understanding Woodpecker Behavior

Woodpeckers have unique behavior that can make them a welcome and fascinating sight in the garden. However, when they become interested in hummingbird feeders, they can cause significant damage.

Woodpeckers are attracted to hummingbird feeders for several reasons, including the sweet nectar and the insects that often gather around the feeding ports. In addition, some woodpeckers may mistake the shiny, reflective surfaces of the feeder for a potential mate or rival.

When woodpeckers visit hummingbird feeders, they may cause damage to the feeder’s ports, perches, or nectar container. Over time, this damage can lead to leaks, making it difficult for hummingbirds to feed and potentially attracting bees, ants, and other pests.

To prevent woodpecker damage to your hummingbird feeders, it’s important to understand their behavior and motivations. By implementing effective bird feeder solutions and maintenance tips, you can create a bird-friendly environment that keeps both woodpeckers and hummingbirds happy.

Identifying Hummingbird Feeder Problems

When woodpeckers start visiting your hummingbird feeders, it can cause a variety of problems that impact both the feeders and the hummingbirds themselves.

Hummingbird Feeder Problems

Firstly, woodpeckers can cause damage to the feeder itself. Their powerful beaks can create holes or cracks in the plastic or glass, which can lead to leaks or even feeder failure.

Furthermore, when woodpeckers are present, they can scare away the hummingbirds. This can deter the delicate creatures from feeding at the feeder, causing a decline in their numbers in the area.

Woodpecker Damage

Woodpecker damage goes beyond the feeders themselves. These birds can create holes in siding or window frames, typically on houses with natural wood siding or trim.

When woodpeckers attack a hummingbird feeder, it can also leave behind unwanted debris like wood chips and sawdust, which can attract insects or cause a mess around the feeder.

Hummingbird Feeder Maintenance

To prevent these problems, it’s essential to regularly inspect and maintain your hummingbird feeders. Keeping the feeders clean, filled, and secure will deter both woodpeckers and other unwanted guests.

“To attract woodpeckers to your yard, offer suet cakes or ask your local garden center for advice on the most common species in your area. Just remember to keep them away from your hummingbird feeders!”

Bird Feeder Solutions

Woodpeckers can cause significant damage to your hummingbird feeders, but there are effective bird feeder solutions that can help deter them. Below, we’ve compiled a list of proven techniques and products that can keep woodpeckers away while still maintaining a bird-friendly environment:

1. Install a woodpecker deterrent

One of the most effective solutions is to use a deterrent specifically designed for woodpeckers. These can include visual deterrents like scare eyes or reflective tape or auditory deterrents like bird alarms or distress calls.

2. Change the location of your feeder

If a woodpecker has claimed your hummingbird feeder as their territory, moving it to a different location may help. Try moving it to a less visible location or using a hanging feeder with a thin wire that makes it harder for woodpeckers to cling onto.

3. Use a metal feeder

Woodpeckers are less likely to damage metal feeders, so using one made of metal may help prevent damage. Alternatively, you can cover your existing feeder with a metal mesh.

4. Provide alternative sources of food

Woodpeckers may be attracted to your hummingbird feeder due to a lack of other food sources in the area. Providing alternative food sources like suet or a separate bird feeder can help redirect their attention.

5. Clean your feeder regularly

A dirty or moldy feeder may attract woodpeckers. To prevent this, clean your feeder regularly with a mixture of vinegar and water.

By implementing these bird feeder solutions, you can minimize the potential damage caused by woodpeckers and keep your hummingbird feeders a bird-friendly environment.

Maintenance Tips for Hummingbird Feeders

Regular maintenance of your hummingbird feeders is essential to keep them clean, well-stocked, and attractive to hummingbirds. Here are some hummingbird feeder tips to help you maintain your feeders:

  • Clean your feeder – Rinse the feeder with hot water and scrub it with a bottle brush. Avoid using soap or detergent as it can leave behind harmful residue.
  • Replace the nectar – Change the nectar every 3-5 days, more frequently in hot weather, and avoid filling the feeder to the brim to prevent spoilage.
  • Position the feeder well – Hang the feeder in a shady spot away from direct sunlight to delay fermentation and spoilage.
  • Use ant guards – Prevent ants from invading your feeder by placing ant guards between the feeder and the hanger.
  • Clean up spills and leaks – Leaked nectar can attract unwanted insects and cause damage to the feeder. Regularly clean any spills and leaks around the feeder.

By following these simple hummingbird feeder maintenance tips, you can ensure that your feeder is enticing to hummingbirds and prevent it from becoming a target for woodpeckers.

Techniques to Keep Woodpeckers Away from Bird Feeders

Woodpeckers can cause significant damage to bird feeders, which is why it’s essential to keep them away. In this section, we explore various techniques to deter woodpeckers from all types of feeders, including natural repellents, visual deterrents, and other strategies.

Natural Repellents

One effective natural repellent is spicy birdseed mixed with red pepper flakes, chili powder, or cayenne pepper. The spicy aroma and taste repel woodpeckers, keeping them from damaging the feeder. Another option is suet cakes mixed with chili powder or cayenne pepper. Be cautious when using natural repellents, as they may also deter other birds, affecting the general bird population in your area.

Visual Deterrents

Visual deterrents use reflective materials or motion to scare away woodpeckers. A popular visual deterrent is to hang shiny objects, such as CDs or mirrors, around the bird feeder. Other options include using a predator guard, such as a plastic owl or snake, or installing hanging streamers. These visual deterrents create an unwelcome environment for woodpeckers, decreasing the likelihood of damage to the feeder.

Other Strategies

Other strategies include limiting food sources and modifying the feeder design to make it less appealing to woodpeckers. Keeping the feeder well stocked with fresh seed attracts a variety of birds, reducing the likelihood of woodpecker damage. Additionally, modifying feeders with cages or metal covers around the holes can make it more difficult for woodpeckers to access the food.

“Woodpeckers can cause significant damage to bird feeders, which is why it’s essential to keep them away.”

Protecting Woodpecker-Prone Areas

Woodpeckers can cause serious damage to your bird feeders if they are attracted to the area. Some areas may attract them more than others due to factors like habitat or availability of food sources. To minimize the potential for woodpecker damage, consider the following:

  • Place feeders away from tree trunks or other surfaces that woodpeckers may use for support to access the feeders.
  • Hang feeders on long poles or from high branches to make it less accessible for woodpeckers to reach.
  • Install a squirrel baffle on the pole to deter woodpeckers and other pests from climbing up to your feeders.
  • Use woodpecker deterrent products, such as specialized feeders or guards, that are designed to keep woodpeckers away from the feeding area.

By taking these measures, you can help protect your bird feeders from woodpecker damage and create a safer, more welcoming environment for your feathered friends.

Encouraging Hummingbird Activity

At the heart of a hummingbird feeder is the beautiful bird it was designed to attract. Now that you know how to prevent woodpecker damage and maintain your feeder, let’s dive into tips on how to encourage hummingbird activity around your feeder.

Create a Colorful Environment

Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors, so consider adding colorful flowers or decorations around your feeder. Red is one of the most effective colors for attracting hummingbirds, so adding some red accents to your feeder or its surroundings can work wonders.

Provide a Perch

Hummingbirds need a place to perch while they feed, so consider adding a small branch or other sturdy perch near your feeder. This also allows you to admire the birds while they feed.

Clean Your Feeder Regularly

Cleanliness is important when it comes to hummingbird feeders. Nectar that has gone bad or feeders that are dirty can deter hummingbirds from visiting. Make sure to clean your feeder with a solution of white vinegar and warm water at least once a week to keep it fresh and inviting.

With these tips, you can create an inviting environment for hummingbirds and enjoy the beauty they bring to your backyard.


Hummingbird feeders can be a great way to attract these beautiful birds to your yard, but they can also attract unwanted visitors like woodpeckers. By understanding the behavior of woodpeckers and taking proactive measures, you can prevent damage to your feeders while still providing a welcoming environment for both hummingbirds and other bird species.

Remember to regularly maintain your hummingbird feeders with fresh nectar and clean them thoroughly. Consider installing visual and natural deterrents to keep woodpeckers away from your feeders and surrounding areas. Creating a bird-friendly environment takes effort, but it is a rewarding experience that allows everyone to enjoy the beauty of nature.

By following the tips and techniques provided in this article, you can successfully deal with woodpeckers at your hummingbird feeders and promote a healthy coexistence between birds and humans. Keep your feeders bird-friendly and your yard humming with the activity of these delightful creatures.


What should I do if I have a woodpecker at my hummingbird feeder?

If you have a woodpecker visiting your hummingbird feeder, there are a few steps you can take. First, try relocating the feeder to a different area, away from trees or other structures that woodpeckers may be attracted to. You can also try using visual deterrents such as reflective tape or hanging shiny objects nearby. Another option is to provide alternative food sources for the woodpecker, such as suet feeders or a separate bird feeder with seeds to keep them away from the hummingbird feeder.

How can woodpecker behavior impact my hummingbird feeder?

Woodpeckers are naturally attracted to the sound and movement of hummingbird feeders. They may see them as potential food sources or simply be exploring their surroundings. However, their pecking can cause damage to the feeder, potentially harming the feeding ports or causing leaks. Woodpecker behavior can also scare away hummingbirds, reducing their feeding opportunities.

What are some common problems associated with hummingbird feeders and woodpeckers?

Woodpeckers can cause several problems when they visit hummingbird feeders. They may damage the feeder by pecking at it, leading to leaks or broken parts. Their presence can scare away hummingbirds, preventing them from accessing the nectar. Additionally, woodpeckers can monopolize the feeder, preventing other birds, including hummingbirds, from getting their share of the nectar.

What are some effective solutions to deter woodpeckers from hummingbird feeders?

There are several effective solutions you can try to deter woodpeckers from your hummingbird feeder. One option is to use specialized feeders designed to discourage woodpecker access, with protective cages or barriers. You can also try applying a non-toxic woodpecker deterrent spray to the feeder or surrounding area. Another solution is to hang visual deterrents such as wind chimes or aluminum foil strips near the feeder.

How should I maintain my hummingbird feeder to prevent woodpecker damage?

Regular maintenance is essential to prevent woodpecker damage to your hummingbird feeder. Clean the feeder regularly with warm soapy water and rinse thoroughly to reduce sticky residue that may attract woodpeckers. Inspect the feeder for any signs of wear or damage and replace worn parts as necessary. Additionally, keep the feeder well-stocked with fresh nectar to reduce the likelihood of woodpeckers seeking alternative food sources.

What are some techniques to keep woodpeckers away from all types of bird feeders?

If you’re dealing with woodpeckers at various bird feeders, not just hummingbird feeders, there are several techniques you can try. Install a suet feeder specifically designed for woodpeckers in another area of your yard to provide an alternative food source. Use natural repellents such as hot pepper suet or chili powder mixed with birdseed, as woodpeckers dislike the taste. You can also hang reflective objects or place predator decoys near the feeders to deter woodpeckers.

How can I protect woodpecker-prone areas to minimize feeder damage?

To protect woodpecker-prone areas, try applying metal flashing or mesh around the affected structures, making it difficult for woodpeckers to gain access. You can also wrap tree trunks with burlap or commercially available tree wrap to deter woodpeckers from drumming on them. Providing alternative drumming surfaces such as dead trees or wooden posts can also redirect their behavior away from your feeders.

How can I encourage hummingbird activity while deterring woodpeckers?

To encourage hummingbird activity while deterring woodpeckers, create an inviting environment for hummingbirds. Plant native flowers that produce nectar-rich blooms, providing an additional food source for hummingbirds. Hang multiple feeders in different areas of your yard, ensuring they are well-spaced and easily accessible. By dispersing the hummingbird activity, you can decrease the likelihood of woodpeckers monopolizing a single feeder.

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