These well-known woodsy dwellers are more easily coaxed into your backyard than vireos. Of the 21 species found in North America, the downy, hairy, and red-bellied woodpeckers are most likely to drop by for a meal. The downy and hairy woodpeckers get up to 85 percent of their food by chowing down on wood-boring beetle and moth larvae, ants, caterpillars, adult beetles, millipedes, and aphids.
Woodpeckers might use a nest box packed with wood chips in a clearing along the edge of the woods. But they’re even more likely to nest in old dead trees (or “snags”)—so if you have one on your property, trim off most of the branches, and leave the trunk for woodpecker nests. These snags also attract and house other native creatures.
Woodpeckers will eagerly venture into your yard for suet or sunflower seeds in the off-season and eat your pests spring through fall.
Photo: (cc) New Jersey Birds/Flickr