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How to Keep Woodpeckers Away from Your House

Woodpecker perched on a tree

Woodpeckers are a beautiful and interesting sight in forests all over America. With their high-contrast and sometimes vibrant red plumage, they’re fun to spot in the canopy. Many folks consider the sound of a woodpecker drumming a quintessential part of any woodland camping trip.

Woodpeckers lose the wow factor when they drum on the side of your house, however. They’re notoriously determined birds who spend months knocking away at their chosen nest sites, and when those nest sites are in your siding, you have a problem.

Why Our House?

It’s an age-old question: Why do woodpeckers choose buildings, rather than nearby trees, for their nest sites? You might live near a grove of perfectly good oak or cottonwood trees, so why should your house become a target?

The answer is a little ironic. Those great trees you live next to? They’re too good for the woodpeckers who’ve made their homes in your eaves. Woodpeckers can’t create nests in green wood, particularly when it’s a hardwood species like oak, birch or ash. Woodpeckers need to find dead wood for a nest site. Your house is made of dead wood, so there lies the attraction.

Get Rid of Bugs

Woodpeckers have incredible hearing. Before they even begin tapping away at your home, they assess potential building sites and pick the most convenient spot. If you have an active termite infestation — even a little one — you can bet that they will find it. If there’s a bird restaurant next to their nest site, they consider it a big bonus.

Termites tunnel into your home from the bottom up, while woodpeckers dismantle it from the top down to eat the termites. If you do have a termite problem, tackle it before your home turns into a pile of wood chips. Termites are notoriously pervasive, so your best bet for a permanent solution will always be an exterminator.

Marking Territory and Pecking for Mates

Before woodpeckers actually begin constructing homes, they drum on trees or buildings to attract mates and mark territory. You can think of this as showing off, if you like. The best drummer gets the best gal.

You can dissuade them with a decoy owl placed in a prominent position. Woodpeckers also dislike flash tape, which is best attached about 6 or 7 feet above the area they’re drumming upon. Sound recordings of woodpecker distress calls help deter single-minded woodpeckers. These birds prefer calm surroundings and will fly away in search of pastures new if you create a hostile environment.

When Your House Isn’t Made of Wood

Are you in the clear if your house has vinyl siding or if it’s made of brick? In short, no. Woodpeckers are more concerned with a suitable pecking substrate than they are with Old World authenticity. Woodpeckers create cone-shaped tunnels in plastic all the time because plastic has some of the same resonant qualities as wood.
If your house is made of stone, it will likely have wooden eaves. Smaller woodpeckers really enjoy making nests in peoples’ eaves: Occasionally the first signs of a nest are dropped tiles on your lawn.

Sometimes even the big shots don’t get away scot-free. In June 1995, NASA had to delay the launch of the space shuttle Discovery after they discovered dozens of holes in the foam insulation of one of its fuel tanks. In the end, engineers towed the shuttle and its peripheral component 3 miles back to the Vehicle Assembly Building to repair the damage. Discovery eventually took off on July 13th, more than a month after its scheduled launch date. Thanks a lot, Woody.

When Nesting’s Afoot

If a woodpecker has already begun to create a nest in the side of your house, you need to move quickly. If the nest is still empty, you can fill the hole and offer the woodpecker a ready-made box instead. To do this, simply hang a suitable birdhouse right next to the bird’s chosen drumming spot.

If there are eggs in the nest, however, you’ll have to hang fire. All woodpeckers are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so you cannot legally mess with a nest once a mama bird has laid her eggs in it. Instead, wait until the fledglings leave and then patch up the hole with putty.

Endangered Woodpeckers

There are 17 total woodpecker species in America, but only two of them are endangered. If you have Gila woodpeckers (Melanerpes uropygialis) or gilded flickers (Colaptes chrysoides) on your property, you may have to leave them completely alone because they are both California-listed endangered species. Using flash tape, owls, distress calls or any other means to put them off is strictly against the law.

Nite Guard Repellent Tape — A Brighter, Quick Fix

Of all the solutions on the market today, the simplest and most effective may be Night Guard Repellent Tape. It’s wider, noisier and longer-lasting than other types of repellent tape, and it’s remarkably easy to use. To evict unwanted woodpeckers, just attach five or six 30-inch strips of tape to your home or outbuilding a few feet above the problem area.

Night Guard Repellent Tape works in two ways. First, it’s made of thick holographic plastic, which catches the sunlight to create a dazzling effect. Second, when the wind catches the tape, it crackles in an off-putting way. One roll of Night Guard Repellent Tape is 100 feet long, so you’ll have plenty left over to keep rabbits out of your vegetable garden and hawks away from your chickens.

Shop Nite Guard Repellent Tape Online

Defend your home against woodpecker damage when you buy Nite Guard Repellent Tape online. We ship quickly so that you can protect your property in a hurry. If you have any questions about using Nite Guard Repellent Tape or you want to give us feedback, please call 1-800-328-6647 or use our contact page to send us an email.

Categories: Woodpecker