The first woodpecker feeder I made I copied from a bird magazine, click on the picture to the left to see it. Right away, all other birds (besides woodpeckers) started to eat the suet cake inside it. So, I designed and made my own. One of my first designs is the one shown to the right. Alas, in a short time all sorts of animals were eating from it. Blue jays, starlings, crows, even squirrels were enjoying a free lunch on this feeder! Here, in the picture to the right you see red-bellied woodpecker enjoying a meal. It took me several years and more than a dozen different designs to come up with a feeder that was exclusively used by woodpeckers, at least 95% of the time! Here are the plans to make the best woodpecker feeder I could design.
First, take a look at the picture of the finished product. Click on the picture to the left. This feeder was hung in the basement because it was raining on the day I took this picture. First note the big platform is at the bottom of the feeder. The suet cake (measuring about 4.5 x 4.5 x 1 inch) goes inside the hole and is above the platform inside a wood box. The opening is lined with angle aluminum, making it squirrel proof. The suet is held in place by several nails easily removed in order to put a new suet cake when the old one is used up. Next, the details.
Materials Needed: ♦Wood: 3/4" x 5.5", 42" plus a small piece for the roof, 3/4" x 3" x 6.5". ♦6 Sheet metal crews: #8, 1". ♦Angle aluminum: 3/4 x 3/4 x 1/16, 13" long. ♦Water proof glue. ♦Fasteners: If using a nailer, use 15 gauge 2.5" nails, if using screws, use 2" decking screws. ♦7 galvanized nails, 3" to 3.5" long. ♦15" fence wire (about 9/64" in diameter) to hang the feeder.
Construction Details: Cut the four sides of the wood box as shown to the left. Next cut a piece of wood for the roof (3/4" x 3" x 6.5") and drill a hole in its middle for hanging the feeder. This hole should be the size of the hanging wire. Clamp the two bigger sides and drill 7 holes centered 1/4" above the lower edge. These holes should allow the galvanized nails to go in easily. They will hold the suet up inside the box. Glue the four sides (making sure the holes are aligned properly.) See the picture below.
The view on the left shows the assembled box with the suet inside. Note there are two views, one from the side, another from the bottom. You can see the seven holes for the nails to hold the suet up. Also the roof piece is glued on the top.
Next cut two pieces of wood, 5.5" x 11". In each cut a notch 3/4" x 5" as shown (when placed together, the hole will be 1.5" x 5".) Before gluing the two pieces, make grooves about 1/2" apart, three such grooves are shown in the figure to the right. Make parallel grooves to cover the entire wood surface. Glue and clamp the two pieces as shown. When the glue is dry, glue this base to the box as shown in the figure below, right.
Next cut the angle aluminum in half. Then cut one flange and bend the other flange at this point as shown in the figure below. Make two such pieces. Bending them in a vise is good idea to make the bend sharp and square. Note that the two pieces are essentially the same and measured to fit in the rectangular hole in the wood base.
Drill 3 holes in each piece to take the #8 sheet metal screws (3/16" holes will do well.) Attach the two pieces in the rectangular opening, some filing of these aluminum pieces may be necessary to make them fit properly. As usual, before attaching the screws make pilot holes (9/64") in the wood. Click on the figure below (left) for proper placement of these screws and the aluminum angles.
Finally make the wire to hang the feeder as shown in the figure below. First make the small loop, then insert the other end into the hole from the inside of the box. Now make the hook for hanging the feeder. This is seen in the picture on the right.
This is all there is to it! I buy the suet ready made in boxes with a dozen in each box. They come in many flavors. They are about 4.5" x 4.5" x 1" in size. Slide the nails out using a pair of pliers, insert the suet, slide the nails back to hold the suet in place, then hang the feeder in a place the woodpeckers like to visit. I usually bend a wire over a low branch then make a hook in its lower end. Now I can hang the feeder on this wire by reaching up without using any ladders or step-stools.
Please feel free to send me, Fawzi Emad, any corrections, observations, comments or questions. Thank you! (The tail feather on the left is from Koko, our Blue-Front Amazon Parrot.)