Fall brings a big uptick in all kinds of pests around the home, but none quite as destructive as the Woodpecker has been this year. These guys cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to the siding on houses, and they are especially fond of cedar siding. So what can you do?
Woodpeckers are 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 main 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. The underside of the wings are bright yellow for eastern birds, and red for western birds.
Downy Woodpecker – Found in all of North America, this woodpecker is small. It is white with black wings that have white spots on them and a red crown.
Yellow-Bellied Sapsucker -Found in eastern North America, they have black, white, and red faces. Like the name suggests it also has yellow coloring under its wings and on its belly.
Acorn Woodpecker – Found on the west coast and south central region of the United States and most of Mexico. This woodpecker is small and black with a white and red face and a white patch on each wing.
Now that we’ve went over the types you may have, let’s talk about solutions. Woodpeckers drill holes because they are looking for food. They like soft wood the best, to look for grubs and small insects, as well as sap, which is why cedar siding is such a favorite of theirs. Woodpeckers have many natural predators, including large cats and mammals, but also birds of prey like falcons and eagles.
There are many devices on the market to scare off woodpeckers, but the get mixed results for one main reason; they’re smart. Any decoy you use needs to be moved frequently to keep them guessing. Scented or bad tasting repellants don’t work much because you can’t spray it on your house and that’s where the birds want to go. Noise makers make distress calls and predator noises, however, these are very loud and don’t work well in residential areas. The best, and often least expensive solution, is metallic moving objects.