Las Pilitas Nursery

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Nuttall's Woodpecker, Picoides nuttallii

A Nuttall's woodpeckerDiet of the Nuttall's woodpecker

Adult and larval beetles make up a large portion of the Nuttall's woodpecker's diet. The Nuttall's Woodpecker also eats Poison oak berries and other fruits and berries as well as sap.

Range of the Nuttall's woodpecker

The Nuttall's woodpecker occurs almost exclusively in western and central California from Sonoma county into the Baja California.

Reproduction of the Nuttall's woodpecker

The Nuttall's woodpecker excavates its nest cavity in dead portions of Cottonwood, Sycamore, Alder, or Willow trees.

Niche filled by the Nuttall's woodpecker

The Nuttall's woodpecker forages in Oaks and other trees by flaking of bark and probing rather than drilling.

Migratory status of the Nuttall's woodpecker

The Nuttall's woodpecker, as a rule is not migratory but some will move upslope after breeding .

Habitat/Plant community of the Nuttall's woodpecker

The Nuttall's woodpecker prefers riparian and deciduous forest habitats. This woodpecker prefers oak woodlands for foraging and riparian plant communities for nesting. Therefore it is found in the most abundance in the ecotone where these to communities meet.

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Northern oak woodland

Southern oak woodland

Mixed coniferous forest

Riparian

Central oak woodland

How to attract Nuttall's woodpeckers to your garden

If you live anywhere in western or central California you have a good chance of attracting a Nuttall's woodpecker to your garden. In your garden you need food and nesting sites. Cottonwood and Sycamore are excellent nest trees and quite attractive in a garden setting. However, you also need dead wood for nesting sites. One way to make an instant nest site is to put in a telephone pole.

Many woodpecker species will drill their holes in telephone poles. If you have a mature tree already in your garden do not remove snags. This is an excellent nest location. As far as foraging sites these trees a fore mentioned will also give good foraging locations. However, the Nuttall's woodpecker also eats fruits. Poison oak is a favorite woodpecker plant. So unless you are highly allergic to it, leave it in your garden. It is quite attractive in the fall. If you do not like poison oak, most people aren't too fond of it, you can plant Apple trees or any tall fruit bearing plant.
Nuttall's Woodpecker
A large closeup of Nuttall's woodpecker