Fall brings a big uptick in all types of pests around the house, but none quite as damaging as the Woodpecker has been this season. These men cause tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to the siding on homes, and they’re especially fond of cedar siding. So what can you do?
Woodpeckers are a part of the Picidae family, and mostly live in forests and woodlands. There are about 200 species worldwide, but in the US we have a major group that causes problems.
Northern Flicker – Found in all of North America, this woodpecker is brown with black bars or spots and a black breast.
Downy Woodpecker – Found in all North America, this woodpecker is small. It is white with black wings which have white spots on them and a red crown.
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker -Located in eastern North America, they have black, white, and red faces. Like the name suggests it also has yellow coloring beneath its wings and onto its belly.
Acorn Woodpecker – Located on the west coast and south central region of the USA and most of Mexico.
Now that we’ve went over the types you might have, let’s talk about solutions. Woodpeckers drill holes because they are looking for food. They enjoy soft wood the very best, to search for grubs and little insects, in addition to sap, which is why cedar siding is such a favorite of theirs. Woodpeckers have many natural predators, such as large cats and mammals, but also birds of prey like falcons and eagles.
There are a number of devices on the market to frighten off woodpeckers, but the get mixed results for one main reason; they are smart. Any decoy you use has to be moved frequently to keep them guessing. Scented or poor tasting repellants do not work much because you can not spray it on your house and that’s where the birds want to go. Noise manufacturers make distress calls and predator sounds, but these are very loud and don’t work well in residential areas. The best, and often least expensive solution, is metallic moving objects. CD’s hung on string, metal tape, and glistening bird diverters all show promising results, but need to be transferred every 10 days to 2 weeks.
Whatever you choose to do, bear in mind that these birds are extremely smart and will get used to whichever deterrent you use after 2-4 weeks.