Attracting a green woodpecker

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
6,809
Edit My Images
Yes
#1
We have a semi-regular visitor who keeps to himself in the rear part of our lawn. It is almost impossible to get closer to him, just opening the back door is enough to scare him away :(

Now that I have a longer lens and with combination of bringing him/her slightly closer to me I am hoping to get a better shot of it.
But I understand they are mostly interested in ants. So short of becoming an ant breeder is there anyway to attract them?


 
Last edited:
Messages
29
Name
John
Edit My Images
Yes
#2
Our local Green Woodpeckers seem to be more attracted to our neighbour's lawn than ours.

The only thing I can suggest is that you get some 'Ant's Eggs' from the local aquarium shop and lay a trail from the far to the near part of your lawn.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
nandbytes

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
6,809
Edit My Images
Yes
#3
Last edited:
Messages
6,069
Name
Robin
Edit My Images
Yes
#4
All Woodpeckers seem to be very wary and always hyper alert but the Green more so than the others in my experience which like peanuts.

I like that second capture and, as with all wildlife, it's always challenging and always requires patience.

I don't know if this idea would be practical for you but I have a military camouflage net curtain in my kitchen window and can shoot from there without being spotted. My 500mm plus Extender options on a gimbal live there when not being taken out on missions. So, typically I might be on my keyboard here or post-processing and hear a bird outside and go and take a look. Or just wander in for a cuppa and see a bird to photograph. But my garden is exclusively a rough wildlife garden (I'm a single bloke).

Your idea of a sweet sounds quite good but what about sprinkling sugar around to attract ants so that something doesn't just swoop in a steal your sweet bait in one hit. It's gotta be worth a go and please let us know if it works.
 
OP
OP
nandbytes

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
6,809
Edit My Images
Yes
#5
All Woodpeckers seem to be very wary and always hyper alert but the Green more so than the others in my experience which like peanuts.

I like that second capture and, as with all wildlife, it's always challenging and always requires patience.

I don't know if this idea would be practical for you but I have a military camouflage net curtain in my kitchen window and can shoot from there without being spotted. My 500mm plus Extender options on a gimbal live there when not being taken out on missions. So, typically I might be on my keyboard here or post-processing and hear a bird outside and go and take a look. Or just wander in for a cuppa and see a bird to photograph. But my garden is exclusively a rough wildlife garden (I'm a single bloke).

Your idea of a sweet sounds quite good but what about sprinkling sugar around to attract ants so that something doesn't just swoop in a steal your sweet bait in one hit. It's gotta be worth a go and please let us know if it works.

Thanks for the suggestions I'll try some of them.
That's a good idea to drop a few sugar cubes in various places.

I can't quite turn my garden info a wildlife patch (my son uses it to play regularly).

There must be something in the garden that attracts him. In the second shot I think I see some eggs in its beak. So that may be it.
 
Messages
960
Edit My Images
No
#6
You could give meal worms a go they nearly always seem to work live ones if possible plenty at pet shops
 
Messages
4,051
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
Yes
#7
Agree with Robin about them being wary and with derbydude about live mealworms. I have never tried them to attract woodpeckers but just about every bird in our garden, from robins, tits, house sparrows, blackbirds, starlings, magpies, carrion crows, love them.

Dave
 
OP
OP
nandbytes

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
6,809
Edit My Images
Yes
#8
You could give meal worms a go they nearly always seem to work live ones if possible plenty at pet shops
Agree with Robin about them being wary and with derbydude about live mealworms. I have never tried them to attract woodpeckers but just about every bird in our garden, from robins, tits, house sparrows, blackbirds, starlings, magpies, carrion crows, love them.
that last part is the problem :D
knowing my luck they'll all be gone before they hit the ground for the woodpecker lol
Robins especially love them and are always in my garden for grub.

Worth a try none the less. I will find a pet shop and/or aquarium and checkout what they have that could help. :)
 
Messages
29
Name
John
Edit My Images
Yes
#9
The so-called Ant's Eggs are actually pupae and are around a few mm long and whitish.

Good luck!
 
Messages
1,548
Edit My Images
Yes
#11
I had one in my garden today and it flew off as soon as it saw me through the window. I'll be interested to hear if you can attract them and might try meal worms myself (to attract green woodpeckers :LOL: ).

I get great spotted woodpeckers on my feeder and they seem quite a lot braver. I've never seen a green one eating nuts.

A few years ago I had a male feeding a baby (that was bigger than him) on our lawn. I thought it was worms he was after.

Edit: Just found the picture today whist doing some catalog maintenance. It was in 2013 - look at the size of this baby!
20130720DI5A7719-Edit.jpg
 
Last edited:
Messages
4,051
Name
Dave
Edit My Images
Yes
#12
that last part is the problem :D
knowing my luck they'll all be gone before they hit the ground for the woodpecker lol
Robins especially love them and are always in my garden for grub.

Worth a try none the less. I will find a pet shop and/or aquarium and checkout what they have that could help. :)
True, their attractiveness and that the other birds will almost always be in the garden before the woodpecker, will mean you could be feeding the rest.

When I buy live mealworms I get them from here - https://www.livefoodsdirect.co.uk/C...MI0eq7joeR5QIVxrTtCh2-NwWZEAAYAiAAEgKlN_D_BwE - always in good condition and very quick delivery.

Dave
 
Messages
6,069
Name
Robin
Edit My Images
Yes
#13
Thanks for the suggestions I'll try some of them.
That's a good idea to drop a few sugar cubes in various places.
.... Actually I meant loose sugar sprinkled around the whole area which you would like the woodpecker to forage. Sugar cubes will potentially both photobomb your shots and be a beacon for other birds/animals to just gobble it up in one - Seagulls, Magpies, Jackdaws etc for example.

Perhaps a very low hidden small mound of loose sugar - Just experiment, sugar is not expensive.

You want the woodpecker to forage as they do naturally. Once they find a regular source of food which feels safe, they will return.
 
Last edited:

Nod

Krispy and Kremey
Messages
32,859
Name
Nod (NOT Ethel!!!)
Edit My Images
Yes
#14
You could give meal worms a go they nearly always seem to work live ones if possible plenty at pet shops
Wilko seem to be the cheapest (and most widespread) stockist for mealworms (dead) which work reasonably well for Green Woodies. Live ones could get expensive and are harder to store for any length of time.

A small sprinkling of loose sugar along the edges of paths/kerbs etc. will attract ants which will in turn bring their predators, including the greenies. As Robin says, cubes will get pinched by too many other things who probably won't bother with individual grains!
 
OP
OP
nandbytes

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
6,809
Edit My Images
Yes
#15
Great suggestions, thank you both. Will try both this weekend :)

(Hoping sugar doesn't get washed away by rain)
 
OP
OP
nandbytes

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
6,809
Edit My Images
Yes
#19
You can actually get mealworms to breed pretty easy you but they do smell a bit good look
tbh if i am breeding something I rather it be Ants. at least don't find them revolting. I am actually scared of slugs and snails! (but happily lived with snakes lol :D )

I can't help wondering if this isn't a survival mechanism for a ground-feeding bird of this size...
what else would it be though?
 
Messages
6,069
Name
Robin
Edit My Images
Yes
#20
I can't help wondering if this isn't a survival mechanism for a ground-feeding bird of this size...
.... Certainly but Greater Spotted Woodpeckers are just as wary and they don't generally feed on the ground. Also other non ground feeding woodpeckers, as I observed when photographing the much larger Black Woodpecker in mountainside forests in Bulgaria.

Birds of prey are their main predator and a Sparrowhawk is capable of snatching one off the side of a tree trunk.
 
Last edited:
Messages
15
Name
Kev
Edit My Images
No
#21
We get the odd Green Woodpecker on our front lawn looking for the ants, I did try earlier in the year putting some suger and boiled sweets out to try and attract the ants into a certain area. That did seem to work for the ants but I did not notice anymore woodpecker action. I think it is the eggs and larve of the ants they prefer rather than the ant it self.
 
OP
OP
nandbytes

nandbytes

I owe Cobra some bacon
Messages
6,809
Edit My Images
Yes
#22
We get the odd Green Woodpecker on our front lawn looking for the ants, I did try earlier in the year putting some suger and boiled sweets out to try and attract the ants into a certain area. That did seem to work for the ants but I did not notice anymore woodpecker action. I think it is the eggs and larve of the ants they prefer rather than the ant it self.
Well sugar isn't going to work today in the rain :D

Might give my local wilko a visit but I imagine the million robins and blue tits around here will make most use of that mealworms.
 
Top