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Article: Garden Visitor: The Downy Woodpecker: Downy Babies

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Sceloporous
Lebanon, PA

November 15, 2012
2:03 AM

Post #9333597

We've always had the Downy Woodpeckers around our house. Out of habit, we don't usually feed the birds in the summer...attracts too many Starlings and squirrels. This year we didn't feed the usual seeds, but put up a peanut feeder and another feeder for unshelled peanuts. The Downy babies came to the peanut feeder. Along with their mother. Dad was not tolerated too well, and Mom actually "beat up" on him one evening for visiting the peanut feeder while she and the children were there. Thought we had two female babies, (they are a bit ugly at first), til the one developed the little red spot on the back of his head. Fall came...time to put up the suet feeder. We had to actually tie the peanut feeder to the bottom edge of the suet feeder. Finally the babies "weened off" the peanuts after discovering the suet. Also had Blue Jay, Chickadee, and Tufted Titmouse babies this year. The power of simple peanuts!

gwen21

gwen21
Gurnee, IL
(Zone 5b)

November 15, 2012
5:06 AM

Post #9333642

I'm intrigued! I've never fed peanuts because I'm afraid I'd spend a zillion dollars on feeding squirrels. What kind of a feeder do you use for peanuts?
Sceloporous
Lebanon, PA

November 16, 2012
2:24 AM

Post #9334438

The unshelled peanuts are in one of those small commercial feeders that are plastic on top and bottom with small, (about 1/4 inch), hardware cloth between shaped into a cylinder between. Due to mold the first year, I cut off the plastic bottom, and placed hardware cloth in there, too. This is held by two small sticks, (perches), that I placed at 90 degree angles through the commercial hardware cloth. The unshelled peanuts go in a commercial "squirrel excluding" feeder. When I bought it, there was a metal cage around a smaller plastic tube that held birdseed. I took out the plastic tube, leaving only the outside cage. Drilled holes in the metal bottom, (again to waylay mold), stuck two larger sticks through the metal cage at 90 degree angles, and put the unshelled peanuts in the cage. Both feeders hang from a pipe inserted into the ground with other pipes forming a "T." A shepherd's hook would work just as well. The Blue Jays especially learned that when a peanut falls to the ground, they swoop down and grab it before the squirrels have a chance. They're pretty quick! Also forgot to mention above that the unshelled peanut feeder also attracted a young Red-Bellied Woodpecker along with her parents. All babies still come to the feeders.

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