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I live in costal orange co, Ca and put up bird feeders 2 weeks ago. I don't have any visitors yet, but i do  have birds in my yard already. I live in a suburban habitat. I would like to attract downy and/or Hairy woodys because I have never seen one because the only woodpeckers i have seenin this county are Nuttall's. Any tips helpful

thanks

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Patience.  They'll find it.  I have a new feeder I put up in early Nov. that hasn't had any attention yet.

Change the seed out for fresh seed, toss a handful of the old seed on the ground, and only fill the feeders about halfway or less until the birds find them.

You're not likely to get Downy woodpeckers with seed at a backyard feeder.  They prefer suet or peanuts.  Unfortunately, you're not likely to get Hairys in a suburban environment; they prefer denser woods.

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4 hours ago, Charlie Spencer said:

Patience.  They'll find it.  I have a new feeder I put up in early Nov. that hasn't had any attention yet.

Change the seed out for fresh seed, toss a handful of the old seed on the ground, and only fill the feeders about halfway or less until the birds find them.

You're not likely to get Downy woodpeckers with seed at a backyard feeder.  They prefer suet or peanuts.  Unfortunately, you're not likely to get Hairys in a suburban environment; they prefer denser woods.

Thanks I have suet as well, and this morning I got my first visitor a female house finch

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Yep, be patient. You should Provide multiple bird feeder styles and foods that attract more birds to your backyard. Adding trees, shrubs, and flowers to your backyard enhance its seamless, natural feel for the birds.
Birds are naturally attracted to bright colors, so pique their attention by offering a variety of colors around your yard. Red is especially known to attract hummingbirds and many feeders come in a bright red hue to catch their eye. While orange and yellow have been known to attract Orioles and Goldfinches and feeders specific to them often come in these hues. 

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On 11/30/2020 at 6:17 AM, Charlie Spencer said:

You're not likely to get Downy woodpeckers with seed at a backyard feeder. 

I respectfully disagree with @Charlie Spencer, @IKLland. I get woodpeckers to my seed feeders all the time. In fact, I've found the Downy and Hairy woodpeckers prefer my BOSS feeders over the suet feeders. While both Downy and Hairy will hit the suet feeders briefly, they'll linger on the BOSS feeders and eat and eat and eat and eat........ Now I'll admit that we don't put out the top of the line suet, which might change the birds preference, but they prefer BOSS over cheap suet in my area, most of the time. I like the wire mesh feeders because of their capacity for lots of birds all at once, and because the birds need to linger long enough to pull the seeds through the mesh, there also seems to be less spillage. Here's a few, of MANY, photos of the woodpeckers going to my seed feeders, including a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

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1 minute ago, lonestranger said:

I respectfully disagree with @Charlie Spencer, @IKLland. I get woodpeckers to my seed feeders all the time. In fact, I've found the Downy and Hairy woodpeckers prefer my BOSS feeders over the suet feeders. While both Downy and Hairy will hit the suet feeders briefly, they'll linger on the BOSS feeders and eat and eat and eat and eat........ Now I'll admit that we don't put out the top of the line suet, which might change the birds preference, but they prefer BOSS over cheap suet in my area, most of the time. I like the wire mesh feeders because of their capacity for lots of birds all at once, and because the birds need to linger long enough to pull the seeds through the mesh, there also seems to be less spillage. Here's a few, of MANY, photos of the woodpeckers going to my seed feeders, including a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

DSCN0661.thumb.jpg.93e4251aa7b6296ff9874f9f67b0372c.jpg

 

3S0A2144.thumb.jpg.2ea724d2eb826ef0aba59caf2677669c.jpg

 

3S0A0509.thumb.jpg.5f1996831b99d6ce6b865979852e8927.jpg

 

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Thanks and nice pics, I just got my second and third visitors this morning. A song sparrow on BOSS and orange crowned warbler on suet

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30 minutes ago, The Bird Nuts said:

Yep, BOSS really is the food that attracts the most species, including Downies and Hairies.  Dorothy here even comes to our hands for sunflower seeds.

2400

I’m out of likes 😢 

I’ve gotten chickadees and RBNU to come to my hand, but it takes a LOT of patience. Something I don’t have enough of to get a woodpecker to come to the hand. 

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1 hour ago, lonestranger said:

I respectfully disagree with @Charlie Spencer, @IKLland. I get woodpeckers to my seed feeders all the time. In fact, I've found the Downy and Hairy woodpeckers prefer my BOSS feeders over the suet feeders. While both Downy and Hairy will hit the suet feeders briefly, they'll linger on the BOSS feeders and eat and eat and eat and eat........ Now I'll admit that we don't put out the top of the line suet, which might change the birds preference, but they prefer BOSS over cheap suet in my area, most of the time. I like the wire mesh feeders because of their capacity for lots of birds all at once, and because the birds need to linger long enough to pull the seeds through the mesh, there also seems to be less spillage. Here's a few, of MANY, photos of the woodpeckers going to my seed feeders, including a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

Yah know, I have no clue what I was on when I said that, but it must have been the real deal.  Heck, I get Downys at my own BOSS feeders!

(there must be some way I can blame this on COVID)

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Odd. The Downies that come to my feeders have never paid attention to the BOSS. They stick around on the suet for a long time, but I've never seen them on my BOSS platform feeder. Also I wish I was better at hand feeding birds.  I feel like the only way I could get them to come to my hand is if I take my feeders down, because why would they eat from the hand of a giant creature when they could eat from the feeders they are used to? But I don't want to take my feeders down so I don't know what to do. 

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2 hours ago, Colton V said:

Odd. The Downies that come to my feeders have never paid attention to the BOSS. They stick around on the suet for a long time, but I've never seen them on my BOSS platform feeder. Also I wish I was better at hand feeding birds.  I feel like the only way I could get them to come to my hand is if I take my feeders down, because why would they eat from the hand of a giant creature when they could eat from the feeders they are used to? But I don't want to take my feeders down so I don't know what to do. 

I suggest that you try holding a handful of seed up beside your feeder before refilling them. If your birds are like mine, some will come close to the feeder while it's being filled, these are the birds most likely to feed from your hand, and most likely to do it when the feeders are empty or taken down. It takes patience and you might not be successful the first time, but the birds will eventually look at you as just another bird feeder, if you're persistent enough. 

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4 hours ago, lonestranger said:

I suggest that you try holding a handful of seed up beside your feeder before refilling them. If your birds are like mine, some will come close to the feeder while it's being filled, these are the birds most likely to feed from your hand, and most likely to do it when the feeders are empty or taken down. It takes patience and you might not be successful the first time, but the birds will eventually look at you as just another bird feeder, if you're persistent enough. 

I have had success doing this with nuthatches, but I'm not persistent enough lol. The chickadees are much more hesitant, though. Thanks for the advice! I'll try doing this more often. 

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12 hours ago, Colton V said:

I have had success doing this with nuthatches, but I'm not persistent enough lol. The chickadees are much more hesitant, though. Thanks for the advice! I'll try doing this more often. 

I've had nuthatches and chickadees feeding from my hand and ALMOST had a Downy feeding from my hand. He kept taking seed from the feeder he was on and my hand was right there touching the feeder, about two inches from his belly. He seemed quite comfortable with me being there, just not comfortable enough to take the seed I was offering.

One thing to keep in mind when feeding birds by hand, or attracting them to your feeders, is the copycat effect. Once you get one bird comfortable enough to take seed from your hand/feeder, a lot of other birds will follow the leader so be patient and wait for more birds to see the activity. Birds attract other birds and once the food source is established to a few birds, other birds will start to view it as a safe food source too. The more regular you are with offering seed by hand, the more regular birds you're going to attract and those regulars will attract new and different birds. I am not patient enough for the birds to come to my hand on a regular basis, but it's a thrill when it does happen. I tip my hat to @The Bird Nuts for having the patience/persistence to get personal with Dorothy, I'm sure the reward was worth the effort. And for those that don't know, patiently sitting/standing still with a hand full of seed can take a lot more effort than you might think.  :classic_laugh:

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On 12/8/2020 at 3:30 PM, Charlie Spencer said:

Get a manikin and ress it in your clothes.  Put it out with seed in its hand for a few months.  One night, change clothes and positions with it.

Let us know how it goes. 

I feel like that would take some of the fun out of it... I would want the birds to come to me because they know and trust me, not because I trick them into it. 

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I have been doing some expirements with the birds at the feeder.

I have found that if you sit in a chair about 3 feet from the feeder, the less shy birds will start to come back. I was abel to get great pictures of chicadees, titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and sparrows this way.

Experiment 2: Holding the feeder. I did this for a while, to try and get the birds even more comfortable with me than they already were. This way I was only able to get chickadees, nuthatches, and a titmouse who obviously didn't realize I was there, as as soon as he saw me, he flew off.

Experiment 3: I have had a chickadee come to the hand at my feeders. The first time it happened, I was refilling the feeders, and he was practically on my head as I was doing it, so I stuck out my hand with seed, and within a minute he came a grabbed one. After that, I had to time it right. I had to try and feed them when they were hungry, or else they would just start gleaning from the trees. I have found that the best time to feed birds from your hand is in the winter, as the seeds are the most readily available food source. I was able to "tame" a red-breasted nuthatch in the winter at my grandparents house and it would follow them around outside. I had it land on my head once 🤣

Experiment 4: The Freudian Bird Experiment. I started whistling a short, three note thing whenever I refilled the feeders. It has gotten to the point where when I whistle, the chickadees fly towards the feeder. However, this may just be because they see me refilling the feeders, not necessarily from the whistle.

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9 hours ago, Colton V said:

I feel like that would take some of the fun out of it... I would want the birds to come to me because they know and trust me, not because I trick them into it. 

My apologies, that was intended as a joke.

Personally, I don't have the time and / or patience to even try.  I've had birds land within three feet of me when I'm refilling, esp. in cold weather.  That's close enough for me.

Edited by Charlie Spencer
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1 hour ago, Avery said:

I have been doing some expirements with the birds at the feeder.

I have found that if you sit in a chair about 3 feet from the feeder, the less shy birds will start to come back. I was abel to get great pictures of chicadees, titmice, nuthatches, woodpeckers, and sparrows this way.

Experiment 2: Holding the feeder. I did this for a while, to try and get the birds even more comfortable with me than they already were. This way I was only able to get chickadees, nuthatches, and a titmouse who obviously didn't realize I was there, as as soon as he saw me, he flew off.

Experiment 3: I have had a chickadee come to the hand at my feeders. The first time it happened, I was refilling the feeders, and he was practically on my head as I was doing it, so I stuck out my hand with seed, and within a minute he came a grabbed one. After that, I had to time it right. I had to try and feed them when they were hungry, or else they would just start gleaning from the trees. I have found that the best time to feed birds from your hand is in the winter, as the seeds are the most readily available food source. I was able to "tame" a red-breasted nuthatch in the winter at my grandparents house and it would follow them around outside. I had it land on my head once 🤣

Experiment 4: The Freudian Bird Experiment. I started whistling a short, three note thing whenever I refilled the feeders. It has gotten to the point where when I whistle, the chickadees fly towards the feeder. However, this may just be because they see me refilling the feeders, not necessarily from the whistle.

Another potential government grant just waiting to be applied for.

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