Most wild song bird enthusiasts put up one or more nest boxes suitable for occupancy by small to medium wild song birds. Unfortunately, very few put up nest boxes suitable for larger woodpeckers such as Red-bellied and Northern Flickers. As more and more land is cleared and housing developments are built, the number of nesting sites suitable for woodpeckers is rapidly declining.
You can help save our larger woodpeckers! Find a spot in your yard and put up a nest box suitable for larger woodpeckers. Be sure to put out plenty of suet. Large woodpeckers eat lots of suet.
Northern Flicker on suet cake
Red-bellied Woodpecker on suet cake
There are a number of web sites that post nest box dimensions for different wild song birds including woodpeckers. The address for a web site containing bird house dimensions is shown below.
I recommend mounting nest boxes for larger woodpeckers 10–15’ above ground. Be sure to pack the nest box with unscented pine shavings. DO NOT USE CEDAR SHAVINGS. You can buy unscented pine shavings (animal bedding) from Wal-Mart. Packing the nest box with pine shavings will discourage other species of birds from selecting the nest box. Woodpeckers enjoy excavating and will make short work of the shavings when they select the nest box. You will enjoy watching the “snow storm” of wood chips flying from the nest box.
Large woodpecker nest box mounted 12’ above ground
Northern “Fabio – the Northern Flicker” peering out of nest box
“Fabio – the Northern Flicker” preening and drumming for a mate.
If you have questions about providing for large woodpeckers, Email Bluebird-Shepherd@help-for-bluebirds.org. Please put LARGE WOODPECKERS in the subject line.