why do woodpeckers peck holes in houses

Because it makes a satisfyingly loud noise that proclaims the bird s territory and attracts a mate. If the birds are drumming for these reasons, they will most likely stop once breeding has begun in the spring (they don t drum when looking for food). Because the bird wants to excavate a nest or roost hole. If the woodpeckers are creating a nest cavity, the hole will be round and large. Nesting holes are usually built in the beginning of the breeding season between late April and May. If you need to evict woodpeckers from your home, aim to do so either before or after the nesting season. Because it is feeding on insects living in the siding. If the birds are looking for insects, the holes will be small and irregular. You may have to call an exterminator to get rid of the underlying insect problem. Woodpeckers are particularly fond of the larvae of carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, and grass bagworms. Because they are storing food. If you are located in the West,
peck dozens or hundreds of acorn-sized holes into large trees or houses, and stash a single fresh acorn into each one. How can I get woodpeckers to leave my house alone? Once you know why woodpeckers are hammering on your house, you can develop strategies for stopping them. Take a look atб for ideas on how to deal with troublesome woodpeckers.


Researchers at the Lab of Ornithology have performed studies relating nuisance woodpeckers. One study, found that lighter colored aluminum and vinyl sidings are less likely to be damaged by woodpeckers. Another paper, tested six common long-term woodpecker deterrents: life-sized plastic owls with paper wings, reflective streamers, plastic eyes strung on fishing line, roost boxes, suet feeders, and a sound system which broadcasts woodpecker distress calls followed by the call of a hawk. Researchers found that nothing deterred woodpeckers all the time, and only the streamers worked with any consistency. Homeowners have reported some success deterring woodpeckers with windsocks, pinwheels, helium balloons (shiny, bright Mylar balloons are especially effective), strips of aluminum foil, or reflective tape. Other people keep woodpeckers away by covering an affected area with burlap or attaching bird netting (the kind designed for gardens and fruit trees) from overhanging eaves to the siding. If you use netting, make sure it is taut and set at least 3 inches from the siding to avoid birds pecking through it. Close off openings on the sides to prevent birds from becoming trapped between the netting and the house. You may also want to plug the holes with wood putty to discourage further activity.


If a woodpecker has dug a roost hole into your house, make sure there are no birds inside before sealing it up. Never use any sticky Бrepellent,Б such as Tanglefoot Pest Control, Roost-No-More, or Bird Stop, outdoors. These types of products can fatally injure birds and other animals. Woodpeckers can cause a great deal of property damage and sleepless mornings. But there are ways to control them. Laws Woodpeckers are a federally protected bird under the North American Migratory Bird Act. Do not use lethal control on woodpeckers without contacting your Federal Wildlife Officer. You will need to institute non-lethal control strategies before you will receive permission to implement lethal control. (See below for information on non-lethal woodpecker control). Why Woodpeckers Peck Your Home Woodpeckers damage structures for basically three reasons: 1. Searching for insects; 2. Creating cavities for nesting and shelter; or 3. Marking territory (a common phenomenon called drumming primarily during the months of March/April/May). Don't give up hope! In one study, the birds stopped drumming 50 percent of the time within two weeks or so whether the homeowners did anything or not. Non-Lethal Strategies to Control Woodpecker Damage Unfortunately, there is no easy guaranteed solution.


So with that being said, try the following strategies: 1. Cover all holes as soon as possible. Place aluminum flashing over the areas where the woodpecker is pecking. The flashing will stop the pecking at that spot because: 1) it is metal, 2) it changes the sound, and 3) woodpeckers don't like shiny objects. Just make sure that the woodpecker is not living in your home. 2. Harass and scare the woodpecker causing damage, using one or more of the following techniques:? Mylar tape: You can also try running some Mylar tape (1-inch-wide strips) around the area where he is pecking. Woodpeckers don't like shiny objects. If you don't have Mylar, use tinfoil or small mirrors. Remember, no harassment technique works all the time or in every situation. Distress tapes: There are machines that digitally recreate woodpecker distress calls. These are NOT ultrasonic devices, which do not work. When you turn on the device, it spooks the woodpecker. Scary eye balloons: These balloons mimic the look of an owl, which spooks the woodpeckers. Garden hose: One animal damage controller recommends placing a garden hose with a sprinkler set at an angle to reach where the bird is drumming. The woodpeckers leave after a few squirts because they don't like hanging on to wet structures.


There is an automatic sprinkler on the market called the Scarecrow which may be useful when the temperatures are above freezing. Attack spider: This is a relatively new (2003) technique. It activates using a sound detector to scare woodpeckers through sight and motion. Owl effigies: These are only effective if you are willing to move them around on a daily basis. Understand that at best the effigy will work only in the short term, if at all. Exclusion techniques: If woodpeckers are damaging your siding under an eave, hang some netting from the eave line down to the ground. If the net is extended away from the house wall, the woodpecker can't get close enough to damage the wood. Some homes actually leave the hooks up year round and then hang the netting as needed. Also, as soon as you notice problems, take action quickly before the woodpecker decides your home is a nice place to live. When all else fails, apply for a depredation permit to remove the problem woodpecker. Lethal Control Techniques These techniques require federal and sometimes state permits. Shooting: Make sure you follow all relevant federal, state, and local ordinances. Lethal trapping: Probably the safest and most effective lethal control method. Resources: (online)

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