Woodpeckers are one of the famous sets of birds in Virginia that are known for their peculiarity. In Virginia, there are eight species of woodpeckers, and we are looking at each of them in this article.
The 8 Species of Woodpeckers in Virginia
1. Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be seen year-round in Virginia but are seen more often during winter.
Red-bellied Woodpecker has a very pale red belly which isn’t easily spotted. Like other birds, they have black and white markings over their backs.
Also, they are usually characterized as bird feeders, as they typically feed on spiders, insects, fruits, nuts, and seeds. They make loud noises if they are coming, that is to say, you will know if they are coming.
Location: Red-bellied Woodpeckers are often seen in woodlands and forests in the eastern part of Virginia.
How to Attract them: Black oil sunflower seeds are known to be one of their greatest attractions. To see one of them, plant a black sunflower in your backyard, and you will see them visiting you every day. Also, native berry trees such as hawthorn or mountain-ash serve as a great attraction.
2. Northern Flicker
The Northern Flicker can be found all year round in Virginia, especially during the winter.
The Northern Flickers are large brown woodpeckers with a flash of yellow in their wings and tails and a white patch on their rump. They are popularly called yellow-shafted flickers. They are large brown woodpeckers with colorful black-spotted plumage. They are often seen on the ground digging for food.
While descending, the Northern Flickers make a loud ringing call with a piercing yelp. They feed on fruits, seeds, ants, and beetles.
Location: Northern Flickers can be found in open woods, parks, forest edges, and suburbs.
How to Attract them: Northern Flickers are incredibly attracted to pedestal birdbaths. Also, hulled sunflower seeds, black oil sunflower seeds, cracked corn, safflower seeds, peanuts, suet, large hoppers, and platform feeders. Tress such as beery plants such as bayberries, grape, hackberries, or elderberries is also a source of attraction
3. Pileated Woodpecker
The Pileated Woodpecker is known as the giant Woodpecker in Virginia, nearly the size of a crow, and can be seen all year round. It has a vivid black with a white strip and underside, which is seen when flying. The males have an additional red stripe on their cheeks.
Pileated Woodpeckers mainly feed on carpenter ants from fallen logs and dead trees. They also feed on fruits like blackberries, sumac berries, elderberry, dogwood, and insects like beetle larvae, termites.
They make loud sounds when approaching a place, which alerts people about them.
Location: You can see them in mature forests or drowned forests with lots of dead trees. They also visit backyard feeders, especially the suet feeder.
How to Attract them: Pileated woodpeckers love suet feeders with tail props and those with added mealworms. This is their primary attraction. They also go for hulled sunflower seeds, suet, peanuts, black oil sunflower, and mealworms.
4. Hairy Woodpecker
The Hairy Woodpecker is seen mainly in woodlands all year round. They are medium-sized woodpeckers with large white patches on their backs and a black and white pattern. Their males have patches of red at the back of their heads.
The Hairy Woodpecker is a mighty small bird, and they do make whinnying sounds or explosive peak calls while approaching a territory.
They feed primarily on ants, beetle larvae, bark beetles, bees, caterpillars, moth pupae, spiders, and millipedes.
Location: The Hairy Woodpeckers can be found in woodlands on trunks or main branches of large trees, including habitats such as woodlots, parks, and cemeteries.
How to Attract them: Hairy Woodpeckers love squirrel-proof suet feeders, and that is their primary attraction. Also, black oil sunflower seeds combined with suet and hopper feeder attract them in large quantities to your backyards.
5. Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-headed woodpeckers can be found in all parts of Virginia all year round but are more common in western Virginia, especially during the winter.
They are regarded as one of the simplest woodpeckers to identify. They have simple bright red-heads and black and white bold markings and are medium-sized with powerful spike bills. They have black backs, white undersides, short tails, and large white bands on the wings.
Also, these birds are very fierce, and they are known to be great defenders of their territories. They can go as far as destroying the eggs of other birds if found in their region.
They feed on Insects such as midges, honeybees, beetles, grasshoppers, and on plants such as nuts, seeds, and berries.
However, they are gradually going into extinction, as 70% of their species have been lost for the past five decades.
Location: They are found in farms, dead timber in swamps, open woodlots, or pine savannas.
How to Attract them: Red-headed Woodpeckers love fruits such as apples, berries, and grapes. These are the trees that attract them to your backyard.
6. Downy Woodpecker
The Downy Woodpecker is the smallest Woodpecker in Virginia and the whole of North America.
The Downy Woodpeckers have a smaller peak compared to other woodpeckers.
The Downy Woodpecker is primarily black with black and white patterning and a white patch on their backs. Their males have a red patch on the back of their heads.
They mostly make high-pitched descending whinny calls which makes them very active, so fun to watch.
They mainly feed on insects, especially larvae, including fruits and nuts like berries, acorns, and grains. They sometimes drink from hummingbird feeders.
Location: It can be seen in the backyard that is well enriched with their attraction.
How to Attract them: An upside-down suet feeder is their primary attraction. Also, black oil sunflower seeds attract Downy Woodpeckers a lot to your backyard. For a great attraction, combine them with suet and hopper feeder
7. Red-cockaded Woodpecker
Red-cockaded Woodpeckers are the most endangered species of woodpeckers that are mainly found in southeastern Virginia all year around. Their extinction results from the loss of their habitat due to the deforestation or logging of old longleaf pines. Since 1966 to date, 86% of the Red-cockaded Woodpeckers have gone on extinction.
They are non-migratory birds that are solely based in Virginia.
They are tiny birds that are hard to spot. They are the size of a robin- with a black back, black and white stripes on the backs, paler underneath with large white cheek patches.
The Red-cockaded Woodpeckers feed mainly on insects and larvae, such as ants, beetles, centipedes, including seeds and fruit like pine seeds, grapes, wild cherries, and blueberries.
Location: The Red-cockaded Woodpeckers in Virginia are mainly seen in Piney Grove Preserve. And in the preserve, do look out for nest holes with leaking sap below; that’s where they are mostly.
How to attract them: Fruits such as berries and berry-producing plants like grapes, elderberries, bayberries and hackberries, including pine trees, attract Red-cockaded Woodpeckers to your backyard. The pine trees are usually their main attraction.
8. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a migratory kind of woodpecker that travels from Canada to the US. It breeds in northern states and Canada and then migrates to Virginia during the winter.
The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker is a relatively small bird the size of a robin. They are mainly black with red foreheads; the male species, unlike the female, has a red throat.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are known to be making holes in trees and using their brush-tipped tongues to sap out the fluid. They mostly go for young paper birch, red or sugar maple, yellow birch, and hickory trees.
Location: They can be found in Young deciduous forests, often on birch or maple trees. They are always seen on these trees making sap wells to feed on.
How to Attract them: They are not mostly on birdfeeders. But they sometimes come for suet and mealworm suet or peanut butter suet.
How to Attract Woodpeckers to Your Backyard
Most woodpeckers feed on bird feeders, especially suet, and they are primarily attracted to berries, insects, and nuts. So having them is a major attraction to them; you can scroll up and read to know each woodpecker’s attraction.
When are Woodpeckers found in Virginia?
Most woodpeckers are primarily found during the winter (December and January) and some during the summertime (June and July). Some are spotted in Virginia throughout the year.
Watch More Beautiful Woodpeckers in Virginia Videos
The Woodpeckers in Virginia have become regular birds and an item of site attractions; most people now travel to see these beautiful birds.
So I hope you love this article. For more exciting and educative bird stories, check out the next post.