If your home consists primarily of timber, local woodpeckers may consider it a tree and a likely source of tasty snacks. Woodpeckers also peck holes in imitation wood or synthetic stucco siding in search of grubs or to create nest cavities. They may often hammer or drum on houses to attract mates or establish their territory. There are a number of tactics you can use to stop the birds from pecking holes in your house. Then you can enjoy the antics of woodpeckers in your garden, rather than be woken up by incessant tapping every morning.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Things you need
- Hawk silhouettes
- Shaving or cosmetic mirrors, 7-1/2" diameter
- Nesting boxes
- Bird netting, 3/4" mesh
- Hardware cloth, 1/4," or metal sheathing
Identify the species of woodpecker that is causing the damage.
Obtain several hawk silhouettes, available from garden supply stores, with a wing diameter of at least 22 inches. The larger the species of woodpecker, the larger the fake hawk should be. Fix the silhouettes in highly visible locations near where the woodpeckers are causing damage. Attach small shaving or cosmetic mirrors of about 7-1/2 diameter to the house, angled to enhance the appearance of the hawks.
Drill several holes in a short piece of log, fill the holes with suet and hang the log in your yard, at a distance from the house. The woodpeckers are most likely attacking your house in search of insects; providing a meal at a safe distance removes their motivation to make holes in search of food.
Make or buy a nest box of a suitable size for the species of woodpecker and install it in your yard. Red-headed woodpeckers, for example, prefer a box of about six inches by six inches by 14 inches, with a hole a few inches in diameter. A nesting pair of woodpeckers is territorial and will keep other woodpeckers away. If a nest site is available, they also have no reason to try and create their own in your house.
Fix bird netting over wooden areas under eaves, leaving a gap of three or more inches between the timber and the netting. Place metal sheathing or hardware cloth over pecked areas to prevent further damage.
Tips and warnings
- Do not shoot, trap or poison the woodpeckers. Some species are endangered and legally protected. This is also not a solution. Kill one woodpecker and another will take its place.
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