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Woodpecker Deterrent

Learn Tips for Choosing a Woodpecker Deterrent

The adorable red-headed cartoon character might be fun and mischievous, but most people are less than amused by the antics of the real bird as they turn the channel from animated folly to woodpecker deterrent instead.

Woodpeckers

This type of bird is a fascinating study, differing in many ways from other bird species.  Although there are over 200 varieties of woodpeckers, in general their appearance is quite similar to one another.  Four toes on each foot, two facing forward and two backward, allow the bird to grasp the surface of trees easily, and the sharp nails on each of the toes increase their ability to cling.  Stiff tail feathers provide stability for the bird.  Their bills are straight and sharp; ideal for carving out roosting spots and drilling into surfaces to uncover the hiding places of their prey.  During this excavation, dust and bits of wood are kept from being inhaled by the bristly feathers over the nostrils.

Woodpeckers feed mainly upon insect eggs, larvae and insects.  Their diet also includes fruits, nuts, seeds and tree sap.  Because insects burrow underneath the bark of the tree, woodpeckers are equipped with a long tongue covered with stiff hairs and saliva to help secure their prey.  Most varieties spend a great part of their day foraging and pecking away to develop new roosting or nesting areas.  It is this natural habit of the bird that drives man to find methods for eradicating the woodpecker.

Best woodpecker deterrent choices

First, it is important to know that most woodpecker species are protected and therefore any harm deliberately caused to these birds can carry a hefty fine.  That being said, it is also important to protect the investment of your home from these destructive birds.  To balance these two factors, a feasible method of controllingthe bird’s effects on your home and environment must be found.  The first step should be to determine why a woodpecker problem exists.  There must be some attraction for the bird; a particular type of insect, for example, will draw the birds.  Carpenter ants and carpenter bees are common targets; finding a means of eliminating these insects will assist in driving away the woodpeckers.

Trees are not the only object of a woodpecker’s affection.  Homes that feature wood siding panels are prime targets for the bird; opening them to irreparable damage.  People have reported success with several methods of repelling these pecking machines:

  • Reflective tape or aluminum foil strips hung vertically on the exterior wall of the house and allowed to wave freely in the breeze can serve as a threat to the woodpecker.
  • Placing feeding centers equipped with favorite foods of the woodpecker may serve to encourage the bird to feed from this spot rather than on your home.  Start by placing the feeder in close proximity to the house, then every day move it just a bit further away until the birds are no longer near the home.
  • Balloons that feature boldly colored eye forms can confuse birds by imitating their feared predators.
  • Sonic sound devices are the ultimate woodpecker deterrent.  An internal speaker within a small unit is adequate coverage for approximately an acre of land.  Detecting motion of the birds as they approach, the sound device emits the screech or call of a bird of prey in some cases or a woodpecker’s call of distress in others.  These sounds are quite successful in scaring the woodpecker away from the home. 

All of these methods have been proven to be successful, but the most effective method is a combination of two or more of these.  Hanging aluminum foil strips is the most inexpensive means, while sonic devices the most expensive.  Once the birds have been diverted, it is important to immediately repair any damage already done.

Woodpeckers are a vital part of the environment, which is why their decreasing numbers have been placed on the protected species list.  It is important, however, to protect your home from the destructive pecking habits of the bird, which can be easily done by choosing one or more of these woodpecker deterrent methods at your home; keeping your home and the threatened bird species safe.