pileated woodpecker

How to Attract Pileated Woodpeckers to your Yard (Fast)

Pileated Woodpeckers are an amazing bird that most people don’t know much about. In this article, we will talk about how to attract Pileated Woodpeckers to your yard. We’ll cover topics such as what they eat, where they live and more!


The Pileated woodpecker is a large bird that is mostly black, with thick black and white stripes along the side of the face and neck area, and a thin white outline along the edge of each wing.

It also has a thick, long bill, that it uses like a chisel. The most distinguishing feature of this bird is its large, red crest on top of its head, which can be used to identify it from other birds in North America.

  • Length: 15.8-19.3 in (40-49 cm)
  • Weight: 8.8-12.3 oz (250-350 g)
  • Wingspan: 26.0-29.5 in (66-75 cm)


The Pileated Woodpeckers are found in the North America and are widely distributed. They have a very large range of habitat and can be found from Alaska to Florida, as well as Canada. 


Pileated Woodpeckers are primarily found in forests with tall trees that can support a nest such as open woodlands, coniferous or deciduous forests, but they have also been seen living near suburban areas including cities. 

Attracting them with a Bird Feeder

Setting up a bird feeder is an easy way to add enjoyment and diversity to your backyard. The best bird feeders are those that attract the widest variety of birds possible, and there’s no better way to do this than by attracting pileated woodpeckers.

Setting up a bird feeder to attract the pileated woodpecker is easy and fun. Follow these steps for a successful and enjoyable experience:

1) Pick an area that has some trees in it. Place your feeder about 10 feet away from the tree trunk, on an open branch of the tree, or on top of a pole (such as found at most hardware stores).

2) Put out seed mix with sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and whole corn.

3) Place the feeder at least 12 feet from the ground and away from any branches or leaves on a tree trunk.

* For best results, use a tail-prop suet feeder, or tube style feeder. Two products that I would highly recommend is the Bird’s Choice Suet Feeder combined with the Pine Tree Peanut Butter Suet, or the Squirrel Buster Feeder combined with Black-oil Sunflower Seeds. All of these products are available on Amazon.

Food Type for Bird Feeders

  • Tube Feeder – Black-oil sunflower seed
  • Tail-prop Suet Feeder – Woodpecker Seed Cake
  • Platform Feeder – Black-oil sunflower seed
Pileated woodpecker feeding on suet

Using Birdbaths

Bird baths provide a refreshing place for the birds to cool off and clean themselves before continuing on their journey.

Place the bird bath in an area where it will be sheltered from rain or snow. It should also be away from areas that are frequented by cats, dogs, or other predators of birds.

If you’re looking for a way to make your bird bath more enticing, there are some things you can do.

It’s important to have fresh water and food at all times, so birds don’t need to leave the safety of their habitat. The following tips will help you create an inviting environment for them:

  • Offer mealworms or grubs in shallow dishes on the ground near the birdbath. Birds love this type of protein rich snack!
  • Use suet cake (softened) and peanut butter in the bath. Mix together one cup of birdseed, two tablespoons of suet, and one tablespoon of peanut butter. Put it all into a zip-lock baggie with about an inch of water to make it more pliable.-Spread oil on the surface to help birds maintain their waterproofing.-Leave out fresh fruit or berries for them!
  • Create an obstacle course for birds by adding rocks, moss, and sticks. 
  • The design of the bird bath should have one or two shallow edges and be at least 2 inches deep.

*The water should be changed daily, as well as scrubbed down with soap and water every few days.

Plant Flowers and Shrubs

If you want to attract pileated woodpeckers, you should think about planting some flowers and vines in your yard.. Their favorites are:

  • Wild Grape
  • Pokeweed
  • Virginia Creeper
  • Blueberry
  • New England Aster
  • Purple Coneflower
  • Sunflower
  • Virginia Creeper

Plant Trees and Bushes

A woodpecker is attracted to a trees, bushes and shrubs for a number of reasons. These birds typically live in areas with enough trees and shrubs that allow them to build their nests high in the trees and shrubs. Their favorites are:

  • American basswood
  • Sumac
  • Hack berry
  • Wild cherry
  • Sassafras
  • Serviceberry
  • Holly
  • Dogwood
  • Elderberry

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can a Pileated Woodpecker fly?

The Pileated woodpecker is about as slow as it gets when flying – they can only reach speeds of 25 miles per hour (40 kilometers per hour)

Do Woodpeckers like peanut butter?

Woodpeckers love to gorge on peanut butter and will stop at nothing until they find it. It’s not uncommon for them to open up empty jars of peanut butter in search of some hidden treasure within the jar’s confines. 

Do Pileated Woodpeckers kill trees?

Pileated woodpeckers actually do more good than harm to trees, eating insects and larvae in order to protect them from infestation.  The pileated woodpecker has a long tongue that can reach into small holes where other animals cannot go to get food for themselves.

Does Suet go bad?

The answer is yes, there are no preservatives in suet, so over time the fat will harden and become rancid. Suet goes bad quickly when exposed to air or heat because of its high-fat content. It can also develop mold on the surface, which has a distinctive smell. When storing suet, you should keep it in a container or tightly wrapped and sealed. To prevent suet from going bad, store it in the freezer or refrigerator.

Are Woodpeckers active in the rain?

Woodpeckers are still active in the rain. It is not uncommon to see a woodpecker at work during rainfall. Although it may seem like they should be taking shelter from the elements, woodpeckers continue to forage for food and drill holes into trees even when it’s raining outside.