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RED-BELLIED WOODPECKER - Species Profile
The zebra-striped black and white, topped with a red patch on the head, Red-bellied Woodpecker is still an abundant year round resident throughout the eastern United States. Few other woodpeckers are as easily attracted to backyard feeding stations and nestboxes.
HABITATShade trees in towns and suburban gardens as well as bottomland woods, swamps, coniferous and deciduous forests are ideal habitats.
NESTINGNESTBOX: 4x4"-5x5", 1.75" Hole
Both sexes dig out a nesting cavity in a live tree, dead tree, utility pole, or even wooden building. Or they frequently choose a nestbox. Woodpeckers seem compelled to enlarge entrances to nestboxes before using them! Adding an inch or 2 of woodchips in the bottom of the box makes your nestbox more attractive.
FOODThis woodpeckers eats primarily vegetable matter, but occasionally adds beetles and insect larvae from tree bark It sometimes forages on the ground for food....but they also like suet, sunflower seed, cracked corn, peanut butter and suet at backyard feeders.
WATERWater sources are important to all birds, especially during frozen winter spells and hot dry summer days. Best placed in the open, with near by branches for convenient lookouts will invite birds to your water features.
COVERNatural landscaping of encourages these woodland birds. "Wood" is their middle name for a reason! Mature trees are favorites, but young trees also provide insects and cover.
INTERESTING TIDBITSLeaving deadwood (as long as it doesn't endanger anyone) in your trees will encourage woodpeckers to visit your backyard. The snags attract insects and provide soft wood in which the woodpecker can excavate their nest holes. And these holes are used by a wide variety of native birds.
"Drumming" is a signal of territorial ownership or mating call -- or to communicate whereabouts to a mate. Loud, rapid volleys on resonant surfaces such as hollow trees or house drainpipes are favorite "drums".
A 5x5" nestbox is built to house the following cavity nesters found in this area. Species-specific predator guards will help protect eggs and nestlings from predators.
It will also be helpful to put up supplies of nest building materials such as string, cotton, lint and straw to help parents build nests. And then when the babies are growing, add some extra seeds and live foods to make it a bit easier on those harried parents!
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