Chances are you do not have a yellow-bellied sapsucker feeder in your yard. In fact, you probably did not even realize there was such a thing. It is also true, that more than likely you are probably surprised to learn sapsuckers even use feeders.
If you go to the store where you normally buy your seed and feeders and ask if they carry sapsucker feeders, don’t be surprised if you are told that they too have never heard of it. That being the case, if you want one, you will have to make it yourself.
My wife, Donna, fashioned our first yellow-bellied sapsucker feeder out of a disposable plastic container that held individual packets of breakfast drink mix (see the photo accompanying this article). One feature that you cannot see in the photo are one-quarter-inch drainage holes poked in the bottom of the feeder.
I attached the feeder to a the limb of a nearby redbud tree using stovepipe wire. Once the feeder was in place, I filled the feeder with grape jelly. As you can see from the photo, if there are any yellow-bellied sapsuckers in your neighborhood, there is a good chance it will dine at your homemade feeder.
Although the yellow-bellied sapsucker is a common winter resident throughout the state, it rarely comes to backyard feeders. On those rare occasions when sapsuckers make a foray into a bird feeding area, the birds seem to prefer dining on hummingbird nectar, doughnuts and suet. However, nothing seems to attract them more often than a feeder containing grape jelly hung on the limb of a tree.
I hope you will give the yellow-bellied sapsucker feeder a try. If you are successful in attracting this unusual woodpecker to a feeder, you will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a bird that is usually only seen from afar.
I am definitely going to make one of these feeders. I have 2 that come in the winter and spring when we have suet out. There won’t be ants at that time so that is good. I didn’t know they liked grape jelly. Thank you.
These come to my oriole feeders all the time. I have two of the big orange ones that take a jar of grape jelly screwed into it upside down. This year the sapsucker(s) found it before the oriole(s) did.