If you feed hummingbirds sugar water, you know that hummingbird feeders attract a variety of other critters. 

       Right now my wife, Donna, and I are chagrined because house finches seem to be eating more than their share of the nectar contained in a feeder hanging in our backyard.  To add insult to injury, the voracious finches also chase away any hummingbirds that fly in for a quick meal.

       This past winter a Baltimore oriole fed daily at a feeder hanging in our backyard.  Although we tried to coax it to eat grape jelly, this finicky bird showed nothing but distain for this often-reliable oriole food.

       From time to time, we have see butterflies at our feeders.  Most often these infrequent visitors are red-banded hairstreaks and cloudless sulphurs.

       Gray squirrels also raid our feeders from time to time.  As you might expect when they try to rob a feeder they end up with more sticky nectar on their bodies than in the mouth. 

       Once while we were a church,  a squirrel visited a backyard hummingbird feeder and chewed up a portion of the artificial flower surrounding the feeding portal.

       Folks that live in North Georgia sometimes have black bears try to drink from their hummingbird feeders.  When this happens, often the hungry behemoths leave behind a damaged feeder.

       The other day Ron Lee told me that for the past several days he and his wife had been enjoying watching a downy woodpecker regularly visit their hummingbird feeder.  When I told Ron that I had never seen a downy at a hummingbird feeder he promptly sent me a picture to document this apparently rare occurrence.

       If woodpeckers have ever visited your hummingbird feeders, I would love to hear from you.  In the meantime, I will keep my eyes on my feeders.  Perhaps I will lucky enough to see a downy woodpecker fly in for a meal.  If one does show up, I hope it does not try to chase the hummingbirds away.


  1. We have been seeing a downy on our hummingbird feeder! I asked my cousin, an avid birder, if this was normal, and she sent me to this link. We live near Covington, GA and have one hummingbird feeder hanging up and one on a table. The one on the table is where we have seen them sipping. I have a photo, but don’t know how to submit it here.

  2. Have one here in Massachusetts! Spends quite a long time per visit. Hummingbird doesn’t seem to worry about it. It won’t share, but it comes back after the woodpecker is gone.

    • Michael,

      Thanks for you post. I thought that downy woodpeckers only visited hummer feeders once in a while. Your experience shows that idea is wrong.


    • Dorothy,

      Wow! You are the 3rd person to tell me that a downy visited their hummingbird feeder. It would appear the birds do this more often than we thought.


  3. The Halsema family has a beautiful set of Downy woodpeckers. They share the three feeder with the 12 hummingbirds. Here in Huntsville mo this is the first year they decided to visit.

    • Debbie,

      Thanks for the information about downies using your hummer feeder. My cousin that lives in Massachusetts sees them there too. I wonder if New England hummer exhibit this behavior more than others.

      On another note, I worked one summer on the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge in Calais. That summer I discovered how beautiful Maine is in the summer.


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