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Get Rid of Woodpeckers


Summary: If you want to get rid of woodpeckers you will need to petition your state department of natural resources. Woodpeckers are a protected bird species and it requires special permission to remove them.

Here's a little woodpecker fact. Did you know that there are over 200 types of woodpeckers worldwide? About 23 of these species can be found in the United States and you probably think they have all come to your house if you are experiencing woodpecker damage. But, fear not! There are plenty of woodpeckers for everyone and one too many for any homeowner who has had the misfortune of being singled out by one of these persistent-pounders.

Woodpeckers are usually found in heavily wooded areas. (Which one of you said, œOh, honey! Let's build a house in the woods?) They tend to nest in one area and, much to the chagrin of someone under attack, typically do not migrate. And, here's some more good news. Their life span ranges from four to 12 years.

These are majestic birds and fun to spot when they're not on the side of your house. Woodpeckers range in size from seven to nineteen inches, weighing in at anywhere from 1.5 ounces to a pound. They can be red, black, yellow, gold, gray, light brown, pink, tan, or white and male woodpeckers can have red coloration on their heads.

Here's something for all you lumberjacks. Some types of woodpeckers have small feathers over their nostrils to prevent inhalation of wood chips.

Although woodpeckers love berries, fruit, vegetable matter, and nuts, they really have a taste for insects and that's where your house comes into play. Woodpeckers are often drawn to the wood siding on your house to hunt for insects like ants, grasshoppers, flies, gypsy moths, tent caterpillars, spiders, wasps, beetles, termites, carpenter bees, and grubs. Most of those insects you don't mind forfeiting to the woodpecker. It's just that they don't stop on the surface.

Of course, sometimes they are not looking for food, at all. They are simply hanging out drumming on the side of the house to establish territories or attract a mate. Woodpecker drumming can draw some attention, too. Woodpeckers can peck between 8,000 to 12,000 times per day, and I can almost guarantee you have cringed with every single beat. Their skulls are extra thick and have special sacs to prevent brain damage caused by their constant pecking. You, sadly, cannot beat your head against the wall in a similar fashion.

When woodpeckers are not pecking on your house, they will peck on trees which are used as shelter. They peck deep holes into trees for nesting, preferring dead or rotting trees for shelter. They may also carve out homes in utility poles, wooden fence posts, and buildings. (Your house is a dead tree to a woodpecker.)

Woodpeckers breed in the spring and typically have two broods per year. Each brood usually contains 2 to 8 eggs. After hatching, young woodpeckers are usually ready to leave the rest after about thirty days, but remember, they don't migrate, so they'll probably create a quartet and peck on your house in unison.

Woodpeckers will target cedar or redwood siding, wooden shingles, television antennas, plastic or metal gutters, rooftop vents, cooling units, chimney caps, and light posts for their drumming. They love the loud noises caused by pecking on metal. Pecking occurs mostly during the spring in the early morning or late afternoon, although you may swear the pecking never ceases.

A good control method for guarding against woodpecker damage is to live in a hole in the ground. If you are averse to that, try covering the surfaces they are attacking with a mesh net. If you don't like the way your house looks sitting under a giant cargo net, try applying a product called BirdFire Optical Bird Gel. You may also want to fill pecked holes with a figerglass hole filler. Make sure it's the stuff that dries hard as rock or the peckers will just peck the filler right out again.

I've seen people use spray foam insulation to fill woodpecker holes, but the stuff is messy and doesn't provide a hard surface. Easy pickings for a determined woodpecker.

Sticky sprays on siding discourages woodpeckers from landing because their feet and claws get tacky. Two sticky bird repellants to try are Bird-Off Gel and Tanglefoot. Before applying this to wood, however, test out a small, obscure area. These repellants may stain wood and run in hot weather. They also pick up dust particles in the air and turn black over a period of time.

Everyone likes to hang strips of aluminum foil or Mylar tape. Problem is that the woodpecker moves down the side the house away from the stuff. In order to protect the entire side of the house you've got to hang enough streamers to make your place look like it's decorated for Mardi Gras,

As a last resort, you can petition the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for a single permit to whack one woodpecker. There's a lot of paperwork involved and you have to promise to eat pine nuts for the rest of your life and wear flowers in your hair. But, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do to save your sanity.



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