How to tell if a woodpecker is looking for insects?
Woodpecker damage to a home may be related to insects or mating. John Burroughs in A Year in the Fields wrote, “When the woodpecker is searching for food, or laying siege to some hidden grub, the sound of his hammer is dead or muffled and is heard but a few yards…It is only upon dry, seasoned timber, freed of its bark, that he beats his reveille to spring and
If you have linear damage, replace the wet wood and call us for a pest control inspection.
Woodpeckers attack structures for many reasons. Spring and fall are the most active times for excavation of nest and roost cavities and to establish territories. Both males and females will drum to mark territory and attract a mate. Woodpeckers will return repeatedly to a site, attacking the area again and again. The reasons for attack include finding food, often carpenter bees, or for a nest cavity or roosting site, or for other social reasons. Typically territorial drumming will be on surfaces that resonate well, such as metal trim, gutters, flashing or downspouts. In order to minimize damage, it is important to take action as soon as a woodpecker begins to attack your home. It may be prudent to continue those measures after the attacking bird has left. To avoid attracting other woodpeckers repair or replace any damaged areas on your home as soon as possible.
Woodpeckers are protected and a permit is needed to kill them from the US Fish and Wildlife service. If a permit is needed, the property owner must contact the USDA and they will help with the permitting. To start the process call Tim Cozine, Certified Wildlife Biologist and Staff Wildlife Biologist, USDA, APHIS, Wildlife Services by phone at 866-487-3297.
General woodpecker deterrents and frightening methods.
Birds often acclimate to the same visual stimulus in the same exact place every single day. A moving deterrent or one that is moved is the best type.
• Mylar balloons can be tied to corners that are being attacked. They will move and because they will float up can be attached without a ladder. Aluminum foil strips or reflective tape, such as Irri-Tape, manufactured by Bird-X, hung from areas where damage occurs may scare away woodpeckers. The strips should be long enough to hang freely and blow in the breeze. An alternative is windsocks hung from house corners serve the same purpose as aluminum foil and better looking. Handheld windmills, especially those with reflective vanes, can be attached in areas of damage. The motion of the revolving vanes may discourage woodpeckers.
• Terror Eyes manufactured by Bird-X, may prove effective as an alternative to plastic owls. This product bounces from a spring, and the holographic eyes follow the bird in any direction.
• With an electronic distress call system, a recording of a woodpecker distress call followed by the call of a predator such as a Sharp-shinned Hawk is broadcast through a speaker system at various intervals to frighten woodpeckers away from your house. One example is BirdXPeller Pro, manufactured by Bird-X.
Sources: Cornell Lab Department of Ornithology, USDA APHIS Wildlife