Most everyone likes woodpeckers. There are many species commonly found throughout North America including the flicker, gila, acorn, downy, hairy, redheaded, green, black backed, ivory billed, sap sucker and pileated. When in the wild, the site of a woodpecker pecking away at a tree is generally an acceptable behavior. But sometimes this pecking can be offensive; often times damaging. Note the accumulated damage to this tree caused by one persistent woodpecker.
In most cases, the woodpeckers have found the targeted wood because there is some kind of food supply living inside. Typical insects that will nest in trees or house siding include carpenter bees, wasps, boxelder bugs, house borers and ladybugs. Though having the woodpecker feed will help reduce the problem insect, in most cases the damage sustained from the pecking can lead to many other costly repairs thus making the behavior unacceptable. If you've got one of the above listed insects living on or in your home, be sure to do some treatments to help reduce their numbers. In many cases this will cause the damaging woodpecker to move away. In cases where you are unsure what the woodpecker is feeding on or if it's even feeding at all, try one of the following repellents.
Woodpeckers will also peck on anything which will generate loud "sounds". They will typically find metal edging, hollow backed siding, soffits and even windows to use for this mating ritual. Most commonly done in the spring, woodpeckers will repeatedly beat their pecks against anything which makes a loud noise as they try to establish themselves as a dominant bird in a given territory and get a mate.
Woodpecker Control Products
If woodpeckers are randomly pecking on the siding of the home searching for any kind of food, the liquid repellent ROPEL would be a good product to employ. It's basically a bad tasting agent that will force the woodpecker to go elsewhere. Treat weekly to insure you have a strong taste in place during the pecking season. This can be anytime of the year but seems to be mostly done during the fall, winter and spring.
If you have large holes which they are using for nests or flat areas being used for "sounding" pecks, apply a coat of 4-THE-BIRDS GEL or 4-THE-BIRDS LIQUID. This material is basically a non-drying glue like material they don't like one bit. One encounter with this gooey gel and they will avoid the area where it's applied. The Gel is applied with a standard caulking gun; the liquid is applied with a PUMP SPRAYER.
If woodpeckers are appearing randomly on the home, set up some BIRD TAPE. This tape comes in long 25 foot rolls and can be cut to any length. The best way to use it for woodpeckers is to cut three 6 inch lengths which can then be hung just over the active site on the home. Use a tack, nail or screw to attach it to the home. When sunlight shines on the tape it creates an optical illusion to birds. Flat and weatherproof, Irritape is perceived by woodpeckers as a threat and cause their natural "fright-flight" response to kick in. In most cases this will cause them to move away and forage elsewhere. Bird Tape is ideal for windows where woodpeckers are pecking at their reflection. It can also be used for crop and garden protection or even on a tree you see peckers targeting.
Another effective option is the MOVING SPIDER. This mechanical device looks like a large spider and is activated by movement. When nearby motion is detected, it will release an 18 inch length of cord which causes the spider to drop down from where it's mounted. Motion, movement and vibrations will activate it like those created by a wood pecker which is either pecking for food or sounding for mating/marking territory. The device looks like a large spider complete with legs, head, eyes and mandibles. Two "AA" batteries power the spider and there is an on/off switch located on the bottom (batteries are not included with the Spider). You will need to use a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the side panel for loading the batteries. This panel is located under the fur of the spider and held in place by Velcro straps. There are two eye hooks for mounting the spider onto siding of the home which are best suited for screwing into wood or stucco. Mount these above the area you want to protect and place the spider flat against the surface of the material being pecked. When the woodpecker returns the spider will be activated and this motion will scare them away.
Set these out one spider per 10 foot by 10 foot area. When used on windows, you will need one spider per window you want to protect. Each spider comes with two eye hooks which can be used for mounting and installation. The cord of each spider has a round key chain like connector which can be used to connect to the included eye hooks. You can also connect an extension to this key chain connector, using some light twine or fishing line monofilament, so that you can hang it down however far you need it to be so that it's able to drop to the target area. This is commonly done when you are trying to deter woodpeckers from flying at a window which is tall, like the ones commonly used above front door foyers. Since the woodpeckers typically fly at the bottom of the window to it's ledge, it is sometimes hard to get the spider to drop all the way down where it is needed. For such applications, mount the eye hook at the top of the window into the window frame. Next, tie some light twine or fishing line down from the eye hook and connect the spider at a point where you want the spider to start it's motion. This should be about 2 feet above the area where the woodpecker is landing. The use of fishing line is suggested for this application since it is hard to see and will be more cosmetically appealing. Try to keep the spider out of direct rainfall. Though it can tolerate getting damp or wet, repeatedly getting soaked due to rain or irrigation systems will lead to damage. And be sure to install enough of them – especially if the woodpeckers are working different sides of your house.
Using sound for Woodpecker Control
Lastly, the YARD GARD is a sounding device that can provide one more option when trying to control woodpeckers. Basically it's a sounding device that woodpeckers find annoying. When placed in line where woodpeckers are active, you can direct the sound at the siding to keep the birds away. The Yard Gard has an effective range of 900 sq/ft for woodpeckers and can be mounted on the side of the home, up under the eave on the soffit or on a pole directed up at the target site. The Yard Gard can be powered by batteries making it completely remote and self sustaining. When powered by batteries, we suggest keeping it in "motion sensor mode". This setting will rely on the motion sensor to detect an invasive target before it turns on. This will help preserve battery life. Alternatively you can power it via the included AC Adaptor. When powered by AC, you can run it continuously. In this mode you won't have to worry about the woodpecker activating it to be spooked; the sound will be on continuously and therefore provide maximum protection.
Woodpeckers are generally not thought of as "annoying" or "nuisance birds". But if conditions are conducive around your home and some start to appear on the structure, they can become a problem. Woodpecker control cannot be done directly to the birds but by employing some of the products and equipment detailed above, you should be able to safely and effectively chase them off your home.