Woody the Woodpecker may have been quite an entertaining character to root for in your favorite Saturday morning cartoon. When he or his relatives are pecking your house into Swiss cheese, though, you’re probably wishing Wile E. Coyote would have gotten that little pecker!
Even the most understanding animal lover can get a little upset when there is an animal causing damage to their home, and woodpeckers can really cause some damage! Unfortunately, getting rid of these annoying and destructive little critters is sometimes easier said than done, but it is possible.
Why Woodpeckers Peck Wood
A woodpecker’s primary food source, insects such as beetles and carpenter ants, can be found inside the wood of dead trees, or, in some cases, your house. The bird will peck a few times, and then explore the hole looking for insects.
- Territory and Attracting a Mate
During the spring, a woodpecker can be heard pecking in rapid succession. Referred to as “drumming”, this behavior can last for several weeks. It is done to establish their territory and attract a mate.
Woodpeckers will peck out a cavity in wood for their nest. Although this activity is not common on a building, it does happen.
Get Rid of a Woodpecker
There are a number of different methods to get rid of these pesky birds. They can range from cheap to expensive, easy to difficult, and humane to inhumane. More times than not, combining a few of these methods is the best chance for getting rid of woodpeckers.
- Visual and Sound Deterrents
Visual deterrents can be hung around your home to deter a woodpecker. Some stores sell predatory bird cutouts, which can be hung up around woodpecker activity. The bird may get used to it being there, though, and eventually continue its damage to your home. A better bet for a visual deterrent is anything that moves or and reflects light. Something as simple as string or aluminum foil hung from your gutters near the spots your new little friend is pecking could take care of the problem.A woodpecker sound deterrent could cost you over a hundred dollars. Of course, you could go a much cheaper route. Wind chimes that are hung on gutters near woodpecker sites can be just as effective as their more expensive, motion activated counterparts. Another method involves playing a radio near an open window.
Giving a woodpecker something else to peck at – other than your very expensive new siding – can work to get rid of a woodpecker. This method is best used with another deterrent method. A suet feeder can be hung outside your home to distract the birds and be moved away from the house a little at a time. Suet feeders can be hazardous to the bird, though. During hot weather, the suet in them can start to melt and stick to a bird’s feathers.
If, after using other methods to get rid of Woody, you are still having problems, completely removing the woodpecker may be an option. These birds are protected by the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, though, which makes it illegal to trap, pursue, capture, sell, or kill them. A special permit is needed before either capturing or killing the bird. You can capture it yourself and let it go in the woods, but there is a chance of it finding its way back to your house. Some pest control companies can also capture the bird for you and whisk it away forever.
Once it has been established that you have a woodpecker problem, measures should be taken to protect your home by putting a barrier between it and the bird. This can be either hardware cloth or nylon bird netting. Be sure that the bird’s wings can’t get caught in the net. Also, remember to leave a three inch gap between the house and the netting. This will prevent the bird from doing any damage through the netting.