Come a Knockin'
article was submitted by Soni Cochran, Extension Associate,
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County.
The article appeared in the Nebline Newsletter February 1997.
Source: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service "Backyard Bird Problems"
year thousands of homeowners put out suet feeders to attract
woodpeckers. These handsome birds reward us by consuming millions
of noxious insects, including carpenter ants and carpenter bees.
it's rare, an occasional woodpecker may single out a house for
drumming, or worse, for a nest or dining site.
spring, when males set up territories and attract their mates,
these woodpeckers make their presence known by "drumming." Normally
they pick a resonant dead tree trunk. As more homeowners remove
dead trees, woodpeckers may turn to metal gutters, house siding
and television antennas.
drumming may be aggravating, it usually doesn't physically damage
your house. You can eliminate the drumming noise by deadening
the resonant area. Fill the hollow space with caulk.
distract the bird from the drumming site by using scare techniques:
balloons, a child's pinwheel, flash tape, and strings of shiny,
noisy tin can lids, wind chimes and/or pulsating water sprinklers.
that doesn't work, create a physical barrier by screening the
drumming site with hardware cloth, sheet metal or nylon "bird
might encourage the bird to leave altogether by creating an
alternative drumming site nearby (but away from your bedroom
how to make a drum: Fasten two overlapping boards, the back
board firmly secured and the front (covered with metal sheeting)
nailed to it at only one end.
structural damage occurs when woodpeckers drill holes in unpainted,
untreated plywood and cedar siding, window frames and roofing.
While no one knows for sure what attracts a woodpecker to a
house, your first step in eliminating the problem is to check
for signs of insect infestationócarpenter ants, carpenter bees
and cluster flies.
Woodpecker nesting/roosting attempts on cedar clapboards.
For more photos and resources, see: Woodpeckers:
Damage, Prevention & Control
Photo posted with permission from Cornell Lab of Ornithology
may want to consult with a licensed pest control operator on
how to remove the insects and eliminate future infestations.
It may be as simple as caulking their tunnels and painting with
you can't find any insects, try "scare" techniques. If you have
a bird feeder that attracts woodpeckers, you might think removing
your feeder will cause the bird to leave. Just the opposite
may be true. Keeping a feeder full of suet may encourage the
birds not to look at your siding for food.
you have dead trees in your yard, you might think removing them
(and the insects they harbor) will solve woodpecker problems.
Again, the opposite may be true. Cutting down dead and decaying
trees deprives these birds of nesting, drumming and food sites,
and may force them to take a look at your house. Source: U.S.
Fish & Wildlife Service "Backyard Bird Problems"
for more information on birds and wildlife