Dealing with woodpeckers can be frustrating. They’ll get you out of bed just when you want to sleep or possibly destroy your property.
So, why do woodpeckers like to hammer on your house? There are several reasons for this behavior. In short, they peck in order to find food, excavate areas for nesting, or mark their territory. Keep reading for more details!
These creatures would constitute a serious nuisance if not deterred. Below, you’ll find reasons why you find these creatures on your house and more importantly, how you can drive them away.
4 reasons why a woodpecker is pecking on your house
Once you understand why woodpeckers cause damage, you can carry out more effective steps to prevent them from disturbing. Generally, these are the reasons woodpeckers peck on houses:
1. To attract a mate and establish a territory
Some birds dance and show off their gorgeous feathers. Others trill wonderful (or annoying) songs. Woodpeckers, on the other hand, cannot sing. So, the males become hammerheads in order to capture the heart of their mates and establish territory.
Damage caused by this type of pecking is usually minimal but the constant noise can be very frustrating. Fortunately, this is only seasonal. The peak season for mating is late April to May.
2. To build a nest
Once they’ve attracted a partner, it’s time to build a nest. Woodpeckers are cavity nesters. This can be anywhere, in a dead tree stump, attic, in your wall, or even in a cactus for some desert species.
If they choose your house, this would result in quite a large hole. Nesting holes are usually built at the beginning of the breeding season between late April and May.
If you want to deter woodpeckers from your home, aim to do so either before or after the nesting season.
3. To find food
Woodpeckers bore into the wood siding of houses to find and eat insects. Most times, the holes formed are small and irregular.
Woodpeckers specifically enjoy the larvae of carpenter bees, leafcutter bees, and grass bagworms. So, if a woodpecker is on your house looking for food, it’s a sign for an infestation.
4. It’s an Acorn Woodpecker!
Acorn Woodpeckers are known to make holes in houses to store their acorns. If you are located in the Southwest or on the West Coast, Acorn Woodpeckers peck dozens or hundreds of acorn-sized holes into houses, and stash a single fresh acorn into each one.
Now that we know why these creatures do what they do, what can we do to stop them?
You can easily develop strategies for stopping them. There are several methods you can use to stop woodpeckers from pecking at the exterior of your house.
There are two approaches to prevent woodpeckers from drilling holes. The birds can be forced to move elsewhere or they can be redirected to a nearby area where their damage won’t be a problem.
How to redirect the woodpeckers to a nearby area?
These methods will help to keep the woodpeckers in the same area but prevent them from pecking on your house.
If the woodpeckers are hunting for insects in your wood sidings, you can lure them out of your house exterior by feeding them. Provide other sources of food, such as mealworms, jelly, suet, etc. This would deter them from foraging for insects in wooden structures around the house.
Constructing houses for woodpeckers
If they are building nests, simply offer them a birdhouse of an appropriate size to give them a ready-made cavity nest ( such as this one from Amazon!).
For best results, place the house very close to the area where the pecking has occurred.
Plant fruit trees and berry bushes
You can use this method to get the woodpeckers to stop hammering away at your house. First, you need to choose an area that’s not so close to the walls of your house.
These trees will naturally attract the birds, so they’ll leave your house and settle there. However, ensure you plant seed-bearing flowers. They are very effective at stopping the woodpeckers from destroying houses.
Call in the pros
Hiring a pest control service is another quick option. It is preferable when the woodpeckers are feeding on the insects in the wooden structure of the house.
You’ll need pest treatments to eliminate the insects and this will cause woodpeckers to feed elsewhere.
Once you’ve distracted the woodpeckers successfully, you’ll want to fix the holes they made as soon as possible. You can use a wood putty or similar cover with proper-colored paint where woodpeckers have drilled.
This would conceal the site and prevent these creatures from drumming or nesting there. Ensure you do this before nesting season or after the breeding season is over.
Once you’ve successfully redirected the woodpeckers, they’ll become a wonderful addition to your yard. They’re adorable and help take down insects all summer long.
How to scare the woodpeckers away from your house?
You can try out these procedures if the birds don’t move out using the methods mentioned above.
Use frightening sounds
Scaring woodpeckers with sounds can be a very useful method to keep them away. The primary method is trying to frighten them using self-made sounds like clapping and hollering at the bird.
This won’t harm the birds, it’ll just be enough disturbance that the woodpeckers would likely fly away.
Scare them away with decoys
Place plastic or carved owls, hawks, or other predators near the area where woodpeckers are pecking. The more realistic they look, the better. Foxes, feral cats, bobcats, mountain lions, and coyotes feed on woodpeckers as well.
You can hang colorful windsocks, streamers, or flags in the area where the woodpeckers are pecking. This will help deter the birds because random movements and fluttering noises frighten them.
Combine several woodpecker deterrent methods at once and ensure you move them every once in a while. This will prevent the birds from getting used to these objects.
Create physical barriers
Woodpeckers get comfortable with places where they can roost. These places include fences, eaves, roofs, and other horizontal surfaces.
When they find a comfortable area, they’ll visit often and they might eventually drill holes and create nests there. You can simply install bird spikes in these areas, they’ll serve as a physical barrier and stop the woodpeckers.
You can also attempt to cover the wooden areas that woodpeckers find attractive with foam, netting, or cloth to stop the birds from reaching the wood to peck. Adding chicken wire or fishing line 1-2 inches away from the surface of the wood would create another barrier. For effectiveness, you will need to leave these materials up permanently.
Use bright, reflective objects to scare woodpeckers away
Placing bright, reflective objects over the area where the birds are pecking can also help to scare them away. Materials such as mylar strips, old CDs, or metal pie plates hung from the fishing line over the pecking area are great options.
Methods to avoid when deterring woodpeckers
No matter how disturbing woodpecker pecking can be, DO NOT kill woodpeckers! All woodpeckers are protected by the Migratory Bird Act and such actions are considered illegal without the proper authorization! It can result in fines or jail time for any violations.
These methods should never be used to drive them away:
- Avoid the use of sticky or greasy products. Don’t apply them to the wood where the birds are pecking. These products can be toxic. Plus, these products are likely to stain the wood and may cause additional damage.
- Don’t remove eggs from any woodpecker nest.
- Don’t attempt to capture or injure these birds.
- Don’t fill in a cavity nest before the birds have left the nest.
Having a woodpecker live inside the walls of your home is a disturbing thing. It’s not just the noise, even the downy, the smallest of our woodpeckers, can do serious property damage.
Woodpeckers can be very irritating when they decide to peck away at your siding, but they’re not unstoppable. With the tips I’ve mentioned above, you should be able to get rid of them.
You can combine several methods to deter the woodpeckers. But in more extreme cases, these procedures may not work.
At that point, your best bet is contacting a pest control company with experience in deterring pest birds or local wildlife control offices. However, most of these methods are very effective. They only take time and effort to get them to work.