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Category Archives for "Woodpeckers"

Best Woodpecker Deterrent – Homemade Repellents & Sprays to Keep Them Away

You are trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning or trying to relax in your own backyard when you hear that dreaded sound: the rat-a-tat-tat of the woodpecker hammering holes into the siding or your house or the trees on your property. You cringe because you know all too well once that sound starts it isn’t going to let up for some time, and it is nearly impossible to ignore as it echoes in your ears.

Woodpeckers are at once beautiful birds that anyone with a feeder welcomes and the kind of creature that can drive a person out of their mind after about two minutes of making noise. The destruction they can cause is untold. People with persistent woodpecker problems lose the health of their trees and sometimes whole sections of siding; the woodpeckers drill holes into these surfaces looking for food and end up making entryways for insect infestations and moisture damage.

Thankfully there is a wide range of products you can try if you are determined to chase off these birds from your yard altogether. Better yet, birdwatchers may be able to control woodpecker activity enough that they stick around to be enjoyed but stop the incessant pecking. The most common woodpecker deterrents are:

  1. Reflective strips to frighten woodpeckers
  2. False predators, like plastic owls and eye balloons
  3. Sound deterrents
  4. Sticky repellents such as bird glue
  5. Deterrent spray that changes the feel and smell of the surface being pecked

Scaring Woodpeckers Away

One of the more effective means of deterring woodpeckers is reflective strips. Woodpeckers are scared off by the flashing light that bounces off reflective surfaces. A general bird deflector, commonly used on high voltage power lines to keep birds safe, may work. Better yet, there are a variety of reflective windsocks and windmills that stay in motion with the slightest movement of the air, acting as a sort of living scarecrow for woodpeckers. The simplest reflective woodpecker deterrent is simply long strips of mylar streamers attached to the surface you are trying to protect.

Woodpeckers and other birds aren’t too fond of being watched by predators, and you can recreate this effect by hanging eye balloons. Eye balloons are round ornaments that make it seem as though a pair of eyes are staring at the woodpecker no matter where it flies. Since birds will eventually figure out it is a trick, these deterrents need to be moved every few days to keep the woodpeckers fooled; the same advice applies to plastic owls or any other fake predator.

Sonic deterrents are usually bird specific since they use the natural warning call and predator sounds of a particular bird breed. Woodpecker deterrents using sound will send out the woodpecker distress call followed by the sound of a hawk. This method uses the bird’s natural instincts against him and guide him away from your property in a hurry. You can choose a sonic device that releases a constant warning call or install a motion-sensitive mechanism that kicks in whenever a bird flies by. Other do-it-yourselfers may want to buy a CD or audio file with this sound pattern and play it through their own outdoor speakers.

Making Their Feeding Ground Less Appealing

Bird glue is sometimes utilized for stubborn bird problems, but there is a word of caution about using such products. If applied too heavily they trap the bird, who dies a rather miserable death stuck to the side of your tree or house. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology discourages the use of sticky repellents because they are potentially harmful to woodpeckers and other birds when it gets caught up in their feathers. They urge homeowners to consider one of the many other effective deterrent options available.

Woodpecker deterrent spray is typically made of a non-toxic vinyl coating. You spray the area where the birds are making holes, and they should find the surface undesirable due to its new taste and smell the next time they return. Sprays are manufactured primarily for use on trees. A similar paint additive can be mixed in with paint for situations where the woodpeckers are causing problems for your house or outbuildings.

Once you have chased off the woodpecker or while you are managing the problem, make sure to seal up and repaint any remaining holes. Holes left by one woodpecker is like a welcome mat rolled out to others. Adams Pest Control recommends filling some of the holes with a putty deterrent, similar to the spray and pain mentioned above, just in case the woodpecker starts nosing around again.

Restoring Peace and Quiet to Your Property

You don’t have to live with the incessant noise or property damage brought on by woodpeckers. If you have a feeder, consider removing the suet from your mixture, giving woodpeckers no reason to return if there are neither bug hunting spots or seed for them to eat. Remember that woodpeckers can be beneficial to trees by helping to control insect populations; this is part of the reason woodpeckers are protected birds, and it is illegal to kill them without a license. You need to be prepared for an uptick in tree infestations if the birds do decide to leave.

If you are lucky you may be able to strike a balance between seeing the beautiful plumage of the woodpecker at your feeder without ever having to deal with their noise or destruction again. In the end, it is all a matter of finding the right woodpecker deterrent.

Additional Woodpecker Repellent Resources:

  1. Woodpecker Prevention and Control Measures – University of Illinois 
  2. US Department of Agriculture – Woodpecker Deterrent for Utility Poles
  3. Woodpecker Nuisance Problems – Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers – Humane Control Methods

Woodpeckers are wild birds that live in woodlands and forests mostly, but some species enjoy treeless areas too. In fact, there are species that live in deserts and rocky hillsides. The bird is part of a family that consists of two hundred species. Woodpeckers peck holes in trees with their sharp bills in the search for food.  The problem with these birds is that they can become a nuisance for homeowners if they are not controlled.

How do Woodpeckers Feed?

These wild birds usually eat insects, grubs from trees, beetles, termites, spiders, fruit, nuts and sap from trees. Woodpeckers have a varied diet, as they are omnivores. The foods found in live and dead tree trunks are their primarily source of nutrients. They are known for maintaining the health of the trees just because of their eating habits. Trees are protected in this way from various infestations.

What is the Behavior of Woodpeckers?

These birds can have different types of behaviors, as they can be antisocial and solitary, or aggressive towards other birds from the same species, but also very social and living in groups in some cases. Woodpeckers are diurnal creatures and they sleep during the night in holes. These birds are territorial and they leave their territories when they are in the search for mates. The drumming generated by these birds when they peck their holes in trees can be annoying for humans. Even worse is the fact that woodpeckers can cause damage to your property if your property becomes part of the bird’s territory.

What are first measures to take against a woodpecker infestation?

In order to avoid the frequent drumming sound and any damage to your property that may be caused by woodpeckers, you need to take measures. The birds don’t drum on your house for no reason. You may already have an infestation of insects and you may have to get rid of the insects first as an initial measure to take to rid the birds. Go to the areas in your house and your attic where the birds have been spotted or where it has left traces of its activity and try to eliminate the insects found there.

Planting Bushes and Fruit Trees and Placing Suet in Your Yard

In order to draw the birds away from the house, you should plant bushes and fruit trees at a distance from the building. If you do it too close, the results will be the opposite of what you expect. In addition, you can place suet in the yard. Suet is made from cow fat and you can find it in stores. Woodpeckers like to eat suet and this can help you avoid the drumming. As time passes, you will have to move the feeder as far as you can from the house. You can move it a bit each day. It is not recommended to use suet when the weather is hot, as it can damage the wings of the birds.

Using Sound and Images to Keep the Woodpeckers Away

Woodpeckers have predators and they are scared of anything that sounds like their predators. Things that have a similar appearance to their predators can also keep them away. You can hang shiny materials from the edge of your roof. Good examples can be aluminum pie plates, reflective tape or foil strips. The wind will take care of everything else and the birds will become scared, thinking that they have predators ahead.

Colored materials, flags and figurines bought from stores can also do wonders. If you also use sound, your operation will be even more successful. An ultrasonic recording of a predator or a woodpecker in distress can be placed in your attic. In order to keep away the birds throughout the day, set up the device to function only from time to time. There are more expensive devices in stores that use sensors. They can turn on when a woodpecker gets close to them.

Use Woodpecker Discouragement and Harassment

If you repair the holes that woodpeckers have made in your house, you will eventually discourage them and they will not return. Already pecked holes can draw in more birds and more insects. As soon as you find holes, make sure you fill them with putty. Use polyurethane paints to paint the putty, as this will keep insects away and as a “side effect”, woodpeckers.  In order to avoid more damage, try to put plastic netting or bird netting in the previously affected areas. It can be interesting and challenging to do everything on your own. But, in the end, calling for professional help is the best approach.

Trapping and Killing Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers can be trapped with bird netting and a netting drop system. There are also lethal traps, but there is no point in killing these beautiful birds when you can get rid of them in an ecological way.  For lethal methods, there is a need for permits anyway because this bird is protected and a permit can only be obtained when extensive damage has been done to a household. Rat snap tracks are used in this case near the holes made by the birds. The bait can be suet or even peanut butter.

Use of Woodpecker Repellents and Woodpecker Control Services

Woodpecker repellents can be hole fillers, but there are also woodpecker repellent sprays. The sprays will have to be applied over the entire area where the birds dwell. Sprays will prevent future drilling, just like protective paint does. The only problem with sprays and paint can be that they can change the color of the wood and stain it, making it to look bad. The use of other chemicals like mothballs can lead to unpleasant effects for the users, so it is not recommended. The best way to know what the right approach is for your particular situation is to call woodpecker control experts. If you use specialized pest control services to control the woodpecker population in or around your household, you can avoid the stress of trying different methods yourself.

Additional Woodpecker Control Resources:

  1. Wildlife Nuisance and Damage – Wood Pecker Control by PennState
  2. How to Keep Birds Away from Car, Garden, House, Pool, Trees & More – Never Pest
  3. Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management – Woodpeckers