Birdwatchers love them, but woodpeckers can do some serious property damage in a very short amount of time. In certain areas of the country, the destruction these not-so-average pests cause to eaves, siding, and various outdoor wood components can cost a homeowner plenty – and the constant hammering of even a single woodpecker can be an incredible nuisance.
Colorado State University researchers warn homeowners to get a jump on reducing woodpecker damage, because the birds are not easily uprooted from their territories or pecking sites once they have created them. However, many homeowners who are perfectly fine with killing insects have difficulty sentencing an annoying woodpecker to the same fate.
Thankfully, there are nonlethal options for homeowners who want to stop woodpeckers from causing property damage. Here are five of the most trusted:
1.Scare Them Off
Fear is a powerful motivator, and woodpeckers are far from immune when it comes to being terrified. Reflective surfaces such as mirrors and shiny metal can sometimes frighten woodpeckers away when placed near areas of activity. These birds, like many others, can also be scared off by loud noises; though it may take some persistence, causing a ruckus (by banging pots and pans or creating any number of other loud noises) when the bird is near may cause it to seek friendlier environments.
2.Lure Them Away
Although it may seem like a woodpecker's sole purpose on your property is to give you grief, what they are really seeking is food and shelter. In addition to making their environment as inhospitable as possible, some homeowners have found success by providing woodpeckers with more accommodating room and board in a less obtrusive location. Nesting boxes designed to attract woodpeckers can be both purchased and built, and once one woodpecker settles into a box, it will fight off other woodpeckers looking to camp out on your property.
3.Close the Buffet
If you already know that a woodpecker is present and you can readily identify its favorite spot(s), you can sometimes convince it to move along by denying it access to its most-frequented hangouts. Fill in holes that have already been created, and protect the area by blocking it off with plastic netting, flashing, or metal screen material.
4.Woodpecker-free by Design
When a woodpecker finds a food source on or near your house, you can hardly blame it for chowing down. These birds love to eat insects, and if their food runs out, they're likely to flap their way on to the next free lunch. Visually inspect areas where woodpeckers have been spotted and see if there's any sign of insect activity. If so, you may be able to eliminate two pests with one stone.
5.How do my neighbors feel about this?
Different species of woodpeckers are attracted to different types of materials and different specific situations. When you are building from scratch or breaking ground on a new addition to your home, knowing the habits of your native woodpeckers allows you to create your new space in a manner that will naturally cause these birds to avoid it. Don't worry about sounding silly asking your contractor about building with woodpecker-resistance in mind! If these birds are a problem in your area, your contractor is not only already aware of it, but will likely have some good advice on materials and designs to help keep the birds away.
In addition to these ideas, there are also a number of repellants (both electronic and chemical) available that are designed to keep woodpeckers away. Although nearly all nonlethal methods of woodpecker control are worth looking into, it is important to remember that these birds are often protected, so purchasing traps or poisons to use on woodpeckers may be illegal in your area.
Although it may seem like a woodpecker's sole purpose on your property is to give you grief, what they are really seeking is food and shelter.