Wondering what animals eat woodpeckers? Our article will walk you through predators to watch out for to keep your backyard avifauna safe!

Bird enthusiasts trying to attract woodpeckers to their lawns and backyards can sometimes forget the action may entice predators too. How? That’s simple. Nature has a delicate balancing system in place to ensure population control. That’s why animals can be predators and prey at the same time.

When it comes to woodpeckers, there is a variety of animals that qualify as a threat. For instance, the most common predators of woodpeckers are wild cats. If you’re anxious about what other species pose a threat to your yard woodpecker population – we’ve got just the thing. Our article will focus on five animal species you need to watch out for to keep your avifauna safe.

Five Animals That Eat Woodpeckers

While some of the animals on this ‘woodpecker enemies’ list may surprise you – we’ve got you covered. You can scroll down to discover ways to keep your birds safe from nearby predators. But, for now, let’s get to that list you’ve been waiting for.

1. Wild Cats

 predators of woodpeckers

All cats are carnivores – which means they need to wat meat to survive. However, unlike indoor cats, wild or street cats have to hunt in order to ensure their survival.

Wild cats don’t think of woodpeckers as a delightful gourmet delicacy, nor do they have a preference for the bird species. Nonetheless, if a wild feline is hungry, woodpeckers and other small birds make for easy prey. If you’re thinking cats will have a difficult time latching on to speedy woodpeckers – think again.

Cats are fantastic hunters. They’re fast, agile, and jump to remarkable heights. Plus, it also helps that felines make excellent stalkers that hunt without making any sound. So, if you notice a sudden increase in the wild cat population around your vicinity with a thriving bird population – it can spell trouble for the woodpeckers.

2. Foxes

 predators of woodpeckers

There are four fox species in North America, including the Grey Fox, the Red Fox, The Kit Fox, and the Arctic Fox. While foxes aren’t a concern for homeowners everywhere, those living away from the city might spot themselves a fix or two occasionally.

Foxes are members of the canine family; however, their hunting skills are somewhat feline. They like stalking and pouncing suddenly on their prey to surprise them. What’s more, foxes are solitary and opportunistic hunters. That means, if there are foxes nearby your home, regular bird visitors will likely catch their eye as an easy meal.

3. Snakes

 predators of woodpeckers

Before you have visions of pythons roaming around your backyard – relax. While pythons and other large snake species prey on birds, they’re not what we’re talking about. The most prolific bird-eating snake species happens to be Rat snakes. These are medium to large reptiles, and thankfully, they’re non-venomous.

However, rat snakes (and sub-species of rat snakes) pose a significant threat to birds (including woodpeckers). Woodpecker and snake interactions aren’t something you’re likely to see in your garden. That’s because rat snakes prefer to prey on bird nests and eat eggs and nestlings.

4. Rats

 predators of woodpeckers

That’s right. Another animal species that qualify as an answer to what animals east woodpeckers is the Rattus rattus, aka black rats. Apart from scaring unsuspecting humans, rats are also prolific bird eaters because the species is omnivorous.

What’s more, black rats seem to have a preference for urban settings – where food is easy to find. These animals find it easy to adapt to almost any type of setting – be it warehouses, buildings, or any other kind of human settlement. Rats are also great climbers, making it easy for them to climb trees and steal bird nests for eggs and baby birds.

The good news is that black rats aren’t precisely hunters. They forage for food, which means it’s unlikely the species will take on birds in your backyard. It’s more likely for a black rat to search out bird nests for nestlings when other food sources like grains and vegetation are short in supply.

5. Predatory Birds

You may have heard of the term dog-eat-dog. But, surprisingly enough, in the animal kingdom, birds eating birds is pretty normal – especially if you’re talking about large predatory ones like hawks, falcons, and owls.

Predatory birds don’t specifically go after woodpeckers – but they can become prey – given the right circumstances. Falcons prefer to hunt during dusk and dawn. Hawks hunt during the day, and Owls being nocturnal, hunt at night.

Read more about Lifespan Of A Blue Jay And 4 Ways To Extend It

 predators of woodpeckers

How To Protect Woodpeckers From Predators

We promised to give you tips on how to protect the avifauna in your backyard at the beginning of our What Animals Eat Woodpeckers Guide. And, here are a few easy-to-implement tricks you can utilize to keep your birdies safe from dangers of all kinds.

  • Invest in a cage feeder with a sturdy build to help protect the birds partaking in a feast on your lawn. You can also build a DIY cage over your feeders to keep the avifauna safe from bird and cat attacks as they feed. Cage feeders give birds (specifically the small ones) enough protection and time to flee in case of a predator attack.
  • If you’re looking for ways to keep birds safe from snakes in your yard, it’s a good idea to keep the lawn mowed and cut down all kinds of tall vegetation (grass, brush, etc.) cut short. Snakes tend to observe bird activity from hidden spaces and attack in low-light settings.
  • Another good tip for bird-lovers trying to make their feeders are a danger-free zone is to provide cover over feeders. Doing so will keep the birds out of sight from predators and let them eat in peace.


Woodpeckers are opportunistic feeders themselves and may resort to scavenging when the food supply is short. Nonetheless, the birds aren’t a match for predators like wild cats, snakes, or larger birds. Bird enthusiasts looking to safeguard their backyard birds from predator attacks will need to employ specific measures to keep the avifauna safe from attacks. A good place to start predator-proofing your lawn is to set up cage feeders and covers for maximum birdy security.

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