Thursday, February 19, 2009

Building & Hanging A Woodpecker Feeder From A Log.

The photo above is a picture of a log suet feeder that was at the cabin we stayed at over the Holiday Season. I thought I should make a couple of them so I headed out to find some logs. I checked the shed and I had two tools to pick from, an axe and a chainsaw. Being that the hospital was 2 hours away I choose the axe. I headed out into the woods and chopped up a fallen cedar lumberjack style and then found a spruce log that was already cut up. Once I returned home I decided to build a fancy one to hang outside the living room window and two like in the photo to hang in the back trees. Here is how I went about it.


  • log, about 24" long
  • 1X6 cedar fence board
  • doweling
  • outdoor glue
  • finish nails
  • hanging hardware (see below for different methods of hanging)
*I will give the instructions for the more complex one, if you are building the easier one just skip the extra steps

Start by cutting your log to the size needed, I made mine about 18" long. If you don't have access to logs you could use a cedar 4x4 or visit a farm store and they should carry round fence posts.

Once your log is cut to size, mark a center line down the middle and cut a 30 degree angle on each side to form the roof pitch.

Now cut the 1x6 cedar to form your roof. Start with one side, cut the end to 30 degree's and then cut its length to 8" inches or which ever looks good with your log size. For the second piece I cut it to 30 degree's and then left it a little longer. Now check that your miter cuts line up and if not you have some extra length to adjust things. Once everything lines up nicely cut the other side to length. With both roof pieces cut to length apply glue and finish nail them in place.

Pre-drill the center of the roof and add your hanging hardware. I used two hanging methods, one from a hook and one from rope. I will explain the hanging further at the base of this post.

With the roof and hanging hardware complete you can start drilling the holes to hold the suet. You can accomplish this with a forstner bit or a paddle bit that is 1 1/2 inches. If you are using a thinner log you can drill right through to the other side or if you are using a thicker log you can just drill in a few inches. Space the holes about 6 inches apart.

Now cut the doweling into 3 inch lengths and then pre-drill holes a little smaller then the doweling and about 1/2" below the suet hole. Add some glue to the hole and press or hammer the doweling in.

Hanging Method One:

To hang the feeder from a bird feeder stand or hook I used an eye hook combined with an over sized key ring. All the hardware can be found in the hardware section of your local home center. This feeder is located outside of the living room window, I have noticed it gets much less attention then the ones located in the trees.

Hanging Method Two:

This hanging method if for hanging the feeder right in the trees were most of the suet feeding birds are. This method seems to be the best at attracting woodpeckers & nuthatches.

For this method I used nylon rope, a wire rope thimble, two wire rope clips & a long hook screwed into the top of the log. Again all this can be found in the hardware section of your local home center.

First thing to do is form a loop with your rope and tie a knot to hold it in place. Then use your wire rope clips for weights. Now find a branch that is over a suitable hanging location. It is best to choose a secondary branch to avoid the rope damaging a main branch over time. Once you have found the perfect branch throw the rope over the branch.

With the loop now over the branch and in front of you, remove the weights and thread the other end of the rope through the loop. Now pull the end of the rope, cinching the loop around the tree branch.

Now install the wire rope thimble & two wire rope clips placing them within reach for hanging the feeder. When the hardware is in place, cut the excess rope and burn off the end to stop fraying.

All that is left to do now is fill the feeder with suet, the suet can be homemade or purchased from the store. Heat the suet until it is just pliable and simple pack it into the holes. Hang the feeder and then just sit back and watch our feather friends munch away.

Downy Woodpecker

American Goldfinch, winter colouration


  1. cool, dan! You've got me wanting to build one for my wife, now.....Thanks for explaining all of the steps.


  2. EG - it would be just the thing to get some easy photos of that Pileated Woodpecker

  3. Really cool. I lost a cedar tree in the ice storm, I think it will work for me too. I love it.

  4. Nice suet feeders and photos of the birds using it.

  5. Great step by step instructions.

  6. Tina - That would be a great use of you fallen cedar. Good luck with your project.

    Emily - Thanks

    Hendria - glade you like them.

  7. A fun looking project and you gave great instructions! You must not have gray squirrels in your yard. Our squirrels would clean out the suet in about 10 minutes! They are such stinkers. We have our suet cages protected by stove pipe baffles or the squirrels and raccoons will destroy them.

  8. Skeeter - We have loads of grey squirrels that drive me nuts. They don't seem to bother these feeders and I hope it stays that way. I remember hanging suet balls and they would chewy them out of the bag and take them. They really are little stinkers.