Sunday, March 25, 2012

Red-bellied woodpeckers and black oil sunflower seeds

We've frequently seen a male red-bellied woodpecker visiting our platform feeder in the mountains, along with lots of other regular feeder birds. 

This afternoon, it was continuous multiple visits.  Swoop, snag a seed, back to the cherry, peck, peck, consume?   Swoop back and repeat....

Red-bellied woodpeckers like black oil sunflower seeds, and the behavior we saw certainly was consistent with thinking that he was using the tree crevices to 'hold' the sunflower seed while he pecked through the shell and consumed the seed.  But red-bellied woodpeckers also cache seeds in crevices in tree bark, too, for later consumption.

My photos aren't particularly sharp (taken from quite a distance with a Nikkor 18-200 lens on my old workhorse D100 camera), but check out this video on YouTube ( for a nice look at a red-bellied woodpecker in action eating sunflower seeds.


  1. Fun! We have had a lot of Red-bellied woodpeckers... last year we also had Red-headed woodpeckers, not this year.

  2. I see the same thing happen with the woodpeckers in my garden - from the feeder to the tree. They're so much fun to watch!


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