What Do Baby Woodpeckers Eat? (Foods & Feeding Tips)

Baby woodpeckers are not able to eat all the foods which adult woodpeckers can easily consume. Also, feeding baby woodpeckers is a crucial part of their care. This is the reason that many people have posted the question of what do baby woodpeckers eat?

Baby cardinals eat several foods, including dog foods, insects, moistened cat foods, worms, moistened cat kibble, etc. You need to use the hand-feeding method for feeding them properly. Know how you can properly feed them.

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What Do Woodpeckers Feed Their Babies?

For food, baby birds are always dependent on their parent bird. Mother bird usually brings the food in their beaks and offers it to baby birds whenever they need it.

Baby birds open their mouth wide and screech when they are hungry. The food served by mother woodpeckers to their babies mostly includes high protein food, like worms, insects, and insect larvae.

what do baby woodpeckers eat, feeding baby woodpeckers

Woodpeckers’ parents always love their baby woodpeckers, and their love is unconditional for their babies. That is why while feeding baby woodpeckers, they never discriminate against their baby woodpeckers.

These help baby birds in growing healthy. Lack of proper nutrition in baby birds leads to poor growth. The mother woodpecker has to fly several times to get food as baby woodpeckers need to be fed every few minutes.

What To Feed Newborn Woodpeckers?

Newborn woodpeckers should be fed many times a day. You have to feed them until they start eating by themselves. Then, you can serve them insects.

But you have to hand feed them as they are very young and small, they cannot eat by themselves. Other than this, you can also hand-feed a newborn woodpecker with dog food.

Use the hand-feeding method for feeding them with the help of a tweezer or toothpicks. There is no need to give them water with every food because it can be bad for them.

But you can add water to dry things like dry cat kibble or dry dog kibble. Soak them in water so then newborn woodpeckers can feed on them.

While hand-feeding them, make sure they did not get hurt. The water in food will fulfill the need for water in newborn woodpeckers, so there is no need to serve them water.

Newborn woodpeckers need to be fed after every few minutes for many days until they grow up. You can also prepare some baby food for baby woodpeckers. For this, you have to boil water, so then it will become bacteria-free water.

Then mix baby food with water and mix them gradually. The mixture should look like a creamy pudding and should be free from lumps.

You can use an eyedropper to serve this type of baby food to baby woodpeckers. The food should not be hot as it can damage the digestive tract of a baby woodpecker.

However, it should be slightly warm so that the baby bird can eat this food easily. Use a thermometer to check the temperature before serving.

What To Feed Fledgling Woodpeckers?

Fledging woodpeckers need a lot of fat and high-protein food for better and fast growth. Suppose mother woodpeckers are not there, then you must feed fledging woodpeckers.

They can eat by themselves after a few days of being grown up. The food to feed the fledging woodpeckers depends on the season. You can feed them insects like ants, spiders, grubs, and mealworms to fledging woodpeckers.

Along with this, you can also feed them nuts, but in small sizes, so they can feed on them easily. Fledging woodpeckers can also feed on seeds, fruits, and berries.

Never serve them only one type of food. Always serve them different varieties of food. You can also serve them mixed foods. Their diet can be changed according to the abundant sources.

In winter, fledging woodpeckers love to eat nuts and seeds, and fruits are available at that time.

After a long winter, the sap is available for fledging woodpeckers, and in spring and winter, they feed on insects with high protein. So, their food choices change according to the season.

How To Feed Baby Woodpeckers?

Whenever baby woodpeckers are hungry, they will open their mouth wide and will start screeching. At that time, you will know they are hungry, bring the food and put it in their beaks so they can eat.

Usually, the baby bird who screeches the most gets more food. If you are feeding them with tweezers or a toothpick, make sure you do not hurt them.

After feeding them, clean their beaks as if there is food on their beak. After a few minutes, it will be dried, and baby woodpeckers will face difficulty while opening their beaks.

To clean their beak, use warm water and a wet towel not to get any harm. Wash the utensils after every serving with the warm water that you used to serve food to baby woodpeckers.

Before serving, check the food; it should not be hot and free from all those things that are not good for baby woodpeckers.

Before serving anything to baby woodpeckers, your first job is to introduce it to them. If they like it, you can continue feeding that food.

Otherwise, stop and do not force them to feed on it. Never overfeed any baby bird as it is not good for them. A specific amount and timing are fixed for a bird of every age.

It is suggested that you should always use freshly mixed feed. But if you need to mix beforehand, you can prepare enough formula for a maximum of 3 days and preserve it in a refrigerator.

After that, you can heat and feed the preserved mix, but you can not reuse it. You may have to add water, but make sure not to add too much water as it will dilute the mix and decrease the nutrients.

How Often & How Much Do Baby Woodpeckers Eat?

Food for baby woodpeckers should be served almost every 15 mins. The time difference in food changes as they grow up. As baby woodpeckers are very young and small, so special precautions should be taken while feeding them.

You should be feeding the baby birds every 15 to 20 minutes from morning to evening. The feeding schedule of baby birds is crucial. you need to stick with the schedule for better growth of baby woodpeckers.

So to cope with this tough schedule, you are required to feed the baby birds every 15 to 20 from morning till evening. You can increase the time from 15 to 20 minutes to 30 to 45 minutes when birds are old enough to open their eyes and have grown some feathers.

After that, start increasing the time interval between the feeds and the amount of feed you gradually give your birds.

Once the babies have started coming out of the nest, you can start feeding them once an hour and increase that time to once every 2 to 3 hours. And after that, you can leave the pieces of food around their box for them to pick them up by themselves.

The amount of food that baby woodpeckers eat depends on their age. A 1-week-old baby woodpecker eats more than a 2-week-old baby woodpecker.

What Do Baby Pileated & Baby Downy Woodpeckers Eat?

The primary food baby pileated woodpeckers are ants. However, they can also feed on beetle larvae or termites that lie deep in the wood.

Baby downy woodpeckers also love to eat insects like ants, larvae, etc. They can eat 4 to 5 insect larvae at a time.

Do Baby Woodpeckers Need Water?

No, baby woodpeckers do not need water as their food easily fulfills their water requirement. They can get water from cat and dog food soaked in water and from live mealworms also. If you will feed them water forcefully, it can harm baby woodpeckers badly.

Do Baby Woodpeckers Feed Each Other?

Baby woodpeckers feed each other, and if one loses its sibling, they feed any other baby bird if they are opening its beak for food. It is very normal among them, and they try to feed each other if needed.


Many people are confused about what to feed baby woodpeckers and what they eat. The proper guide for their foods and ways to feed them are briefly given in the above post will help you in caring for the baby woodpeckers.

As they grow, the quantity of food to be eaten is lesser as the time to feed reduces. When they are very young, their mother woodpecker feeds them every few minutes, but as they grow they eat two to three times a day.

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