About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Is There a Pileated Woodpecker Nest Box?

I am so excited to have a Pileated Woodpecker in my yard this year. Do you sell a nest box for them or have plans so I can make my own? Right now they are eating from your double suet feeder I put up in the spring. Rob

I’m so happy you have a regular Pileated Woodpecker visiting. They are very impressive birds!

We do have nest boxes for a variety of birds and it just so happens that the Screech-Owl and Pileated Woodpecker can use boxes with the same dimensions. (Beware, this box is also preferred by starlings, squirrels and opossums.)

Wild Birds Unlimited also has a variety of books with designs for building your own nest boxes.

The Pileated Woodpecker Dryocopus pileatus is Michigan’s largest woodpecker at sixteen and a half inches in length and a wingspan up to 30 inches. Its size, sleek black back and wings, offset by a red crest, are obvious field marks. The males have a characteristic red "mustache", which is actually a stripe near the beak. The female's stripe is black. Another distinct field mark is the large white area under its wing which is viewed when the bird is in flight.

Good luck! If you have any more questions feel free to stop in the stores.


Joy K. said...

I'm sitting here snarling with jealousy. This is the bird I want most to see, but I'm just a little too far west.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

It seems like there has been an increase in the number of woodpeckers visiting the feeders this year. I've sold lots of feeders for the Pileated.

They either had a very good nesting season or the bugs are scarce and they are taking advantage of the feeders.

Don't be jealous. I love Michigan but your Texas does have some fine snakes!

Anonymous said...

I live in Ohio and I have a Pileated in our neighborhood, he has never visited our feeder, but I think it is too small, finances prevent me from getting another suet feeder to put on the tree. I keep hearing him but when I get to where he is, poof! He's gone, or hiding really, really good. It is amazing how something so big can hide so good.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Just spread some peanut butter or smoosh a suet cake directly on the tree. Lots of birds will flock to the feast and no new feeder is required.

Anonymous said...

how do you keep the squirrels from the suet if you smoosh it on the tree? That is the only problem I have, I would love to see a Pileated or a Northern Flicker on it again, I had two on it once at the same time, but since it got warmer, I have seen no flickers and the only woodpeckers I have seen are the Downies and the red-bellied woodpeckers and the Nuthatches and Chickadees. Tell me how to keep the squirrels out of it and I think I will try it.

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

I think you're borrowing trouble. Give it a try.

Anonymous said...

Here in NY we have grey/red squirrels, flying squirrels (nocturnal), opossums and racoons who also like the suet and would devour it if we put it on a tree trunk, but we also wanted the Pileateds, so we took a standard bird feeder base pole (well anchored), mounted a wide baffle, and on top of that mounted 2 back-to-back 2x6x36" boards (just nailed them together). Near the top put 2 L screws and put the standard suet cage on the L screws. To top it off, and to keep the crows (sort of) away, a sheet of 1x1' sheet metal as a roof directly above the L screws/suet cage. Then apply axle grease to the pole to further dissuade the racoons. The baffle/greased pole keep the squirrels and racoons out, and the sheet metal roof is a partial deterrent to the crows. Because the 2x6" boards are 36" long the Piliateds have plenty of landing/perching space. Sounds complicated but its not, and its cheaper than a commercially made fancy suet feeder. Good luck !

Anonymous said...

We have a pair of Pileateds nesting somewhere close by in the woods behind our house. They frequent the trees on the perimeter of our lawn. We love watching them. (Southwest Michigan)

Dominic Hix said...

Had a few blackbirds and Robins strutting around my yard so thought nothing of it when I stepped outside to grab some trash I picked up earlier while mowing my lawn. As I stepped out, I saw an unusually large black bird miss my head by a couple of feet. As I turned my head to follow it, I saw a flash of red on the back of its head and realized it was a Pileated. Then I heard it's "Wahhahahaha" call.