How to Keep Woodpeckers Off Your House

Woodpeckers serve a needed purpose in nature, but when they begin to damage your home they must go.
Related To:

Photo By: Mick Telkamp

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Madison-Morgan Cultural Center

Photo By: Image Courtesy of Gardeners Supply Company

Photo By: Photo by Melissa Caughey

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited, www.wbu.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Blackberry Farm ©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Photo By: Photo by Lisa Steinkopf

Downy Woodpecker

When woodpeckers are pounding on your house, it's important to understand why so that you can effectively address the problem.There are three primary reasons why woodpeckers peck wood. "Drumming" is social behavior and does very little damage, but is annoying. Feeding woodpeckers may do little or extensive damage, depending on how extensive the food source is. Nesting results in deep cavities.

Remove Food Sources

Large dead limbs or infested trees harbor a variety of insects that attract woodpeckers. Remove them from the immediate area around the home. Leaving a "den tree" further away from the home will provide woodpeckers a good opportunity in a more suitable location.

Remove Food Sources

Feeding on your house may be a sign of a bigger problem. If you notice woodpeckers pecking and prying your wood siding or trim, a call to the exterminator may be warranted as it may mean you have bees, termites or other insect invaders to address.

Keep Large Trees Away From the House

Let large trees have a place in your landscape away from the house. To minimize effective cover for woodpeckers, your house's foundation landscape should be comprised of various-sized shrubs.

Decoy

Using a decoy, such as an owl, can make woodpeckers think twice before taking up residence. It may help to move the decoy to new locations around your home periodically.

Motion

Adding the unpredictable motion of a windsock or garden flag will spook woodpeckers.

Add Something Shiny

Shiny lightweight material, such as aluminum cans, pie pans or flash tape is another way to take advantage of wind and sunlight to scare away woodpeckers with motion. 

Noise

Noise is another deterrent to woodpeckers. If windchimes don't work, try playing recorded owl or hawk calls. There are also a number of companies that manufacture ultrasonic noisemakers for the same purpose.

Attract Them to Other Parts of Your Yard

Attract woodpeckers to more suitable parts of your landscape by enticing them with shrubs that produce berries, such as viburnum, serviceberry and cherry laurel.

Feed the Birds

Woodpeckers will be attracted to your birdfeeding station if you provide suet. Gradually move the suet feeder further and further away from the house.

Cover the Area That Attracts Them

Hang chicken wire or bird netting, spaced two or three inches from the siding, over the area where the woodpeckers have been pecking. They will not be able to access the siding, and will eventually stop trying. You will have to leave the mesh in place semi-permanently for this to be effective.

Patch the Hole

To repair holes in wood, use wire mesh or hardware cloth to stuff the hole, then add putty to fill the gap. Finally paint to match the surrounding wood.

Everyone Has a Home

If you have exhausted your efforts at deterrence and woodpeckers continue to be a nuisance, you should call a professional wildlife removal expert to handle the job. These beautiful but sometimes bothersome birds are protected by law and proper handling is imperative. A wildlife expert can make sure that you and the woodpeckers end up with the best possible solution.