Rat-a-tat-tat-tat-tat-tat. No, that tapping sound is not a small child walking around banging on the outside of your house with his toy drumsticks, nor is it a wayward construction worker who mistook your siding for the ground he was supposed to jackhammer. It’s actually a woodpecker, pecking away at the exterior of your house. But why is it doing this – and more importantly, how can you stop it?
There are various reasons why woodpeckers feel compelled to mount an assault on both your house’s siding and your own ears. Firstly, the loudest and fastest pecking – commonly referred to as “drumming” – is an attempt by a male to make as much noise as possible to both attract a mate and make it clear to other males that the area is his territory. Secondly, woodpeckers often bore into your siding on their quest for insects. If you find unexplained holes, it likely means that the birds found and ate insects inside the boards that you didn’t even know had been there (and might still be there – don’t be shy about calling pest control if this is the case). Finally and most damaging to your house, woodpeckers will sometimes attempt to build a nest right in your wall. Unsurprisingly, this can result in quite a large hole gaping on the side of your house, and this obviously is not something that’s sustainable.
So what can you do about it? There are a number of ways you can go about trying to stop woodpeckers from pecking at the exterior of your house. Probably the simplest of these is trying to startle them off using a large amount of self-made noise – in other words, clapping and hollering at the bird. If that fails and you want to stay with the strategy of sound, it’s time to kick things up a notch to the ultrasonic level. These harmless transmitters won’t make the birds’ ears bleed, but they’ll be enough of an irritant that the woodpeckers would likely rather just fly away and be someone else’s problem.
But let’s say that either the ultrasonic waves don’t work or you’d rather not invest in a transmitter – what to do then? Instead of trying to startle or irritate the woodpeckers, you can always up the ante a bit. In other words, you can go for broke by trying to frighten the living daylights out of them using visual means. Lifelike replicas of predators such as this Prowler Owl and creative fakes such as these Terror Eyes send woodpeckers immediately scrambling in the other direction. Reflective material set up in the area will confuse woodpeckers and scare them using their own reflection as well.
If none of that works, consider setting up something specifically for them in your yard, depending on what you deem to be the reason they’re drilling into your siding. If they seem to be on the hunt for food, put up a bird feeder loaded with suet or other woodpecker-favored food in order to draw them away from your wall. If they’ve dug out a large hole for a nest, quickly put up a bird house in an attempt to entice them into settling in a nice house rather than a pecked-out section of wall.
Of course, once you’ve taken care of the woodpecker problem, you’ll want to fix the holes they made as soon as possible. Some kind of wood putty or similar cover with appropriately-colored paint ought to do the trick.
Woodpeckers may present a formidable – and annoying – adversary when they decide to peck away at your siding for any one of a handful of reasons, but they’re not unbeatable. Armed with the above tips, you should be able to get rid of them as quickly as they came. Happy Birding!
Written by Guest Writer Sean Peick