Red-bellied Woodpecker: Too Heavy!

A red-bellied woodpecker landed on the seed feeder, but the flapping tells you something’s not right:

Red-bellied woodpecker at feeder - closing

Red-bellied woodpecker at feeder – closing

After the fluttering stopped, the seeds had vanished:

Red-bellied woodpecker at feeder - puzzled

Red-bellied woodpecker at feeder – puzzled

According to our books, a red-bellied woodpecker weighed 72.5 g = 2.6 oz back in 1952. The feeder counterweight reads 3 oz and that’s confirmed by my pull scale. Perhaps woodpeckers suffer from the obesity epidemic, too?

The feeder closes with one cardinal (44 g) and two tufted titmouses (2 x 22 g), all of whom seem rather surprised at the situation.


  1. #1 by Red County Pete on 2014-12-07 - 12:17

    My redneck feeder (square skillet baseplate, aluminum safety plate on the sides and top) caters to all winged customers. The dove/pidgeons and Stellar’s jays usually take turns, though we have a couple of small birds left. IIRC, these are nuthatches. The feeder doesn’t cope well with snow, so the suet feeder will go up shortly.

    • #2 by Ed on 2014-12-07 - 13:17

      This one had to repel squirrels, until I put an inverted bucket on a PVC sleeve over the pole and a nearby branch dropped off the maple. I should dial the weight up a bit…

      • #3 by Red County Pete on 2014-12-07 - 16:04

        I use a modified (pan) pizza dish. I tried a slick aluminum sleeve alone (recycled clothes dryer), but some of the squirrels could defeat the grease. [grin] When I had a feeder hanging from the tree, one enterprising squirrel chewed the rope and tried to steal the feeder…

  2. #4 by bstott on 2014-12-07 - 16:22

    Good observation. Say? Average weight would be the year round – not taking into account the winter weight gain to cover less available food and winter warmth requirements. Eh? Maybe account for weight gains for the winter needs of guests? OR simply continue to let them eat as their weight allows. :-?


    • #5 by Ed on 2014-12-08 - 09:42

      We should just feed ’em until they burst…