How to Keep Woodpeckers From Destroying Cedar Siding

How to Keep Woodpeckers From Destroying Cedar Siding
Woodpeckers come in a number of sizes and varieties. Their calls are often as distinctive as their plumage, creating excitement when the flash of their movement is spotted or their laughter rings out through the trees.

All of that excitement changes to dread when the drumming of their work approaches a little too close to home. When those pounding sounds are reverberating off of your siding, making it hard to sleep and causing expensive repairs, the birds lose a little of their charm. To keep the love affair alive, there are definite steps you can take to restore harmony.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Defense

Things You’ll Need:
  • Light-colored paint Insecticide Metal materials for patching Nesting box Hawk silhouettes Shiny objects, strips of aluminum, mirrors, aluminum pie tins Netting Fishing line Nails
  • Light-colored paint
  • Insecticide
  • Metal materials for patching
  • Nesting box
  • Hawk silhouettes
  • Shiny objects, strips of aluminum, mirrors, aluminum pie tins
  • Netting
  • Fishing line
  • Nails
Step 1
Paint the siding a different color or try painting only the areas where the birds tend to congregate. Woodpeckers prefer colors found in nature. If your siding is a brown, green or dark red shade, they are more likely to give it a try than if you choose a light color or a pastel.
Step 2
Use an insecticide, because clusters of small holes are a sign that the birds are looking for larvae in the wood. If woodpeckers are looking for insects, use of an insecticide to rid the cedar of any food source for the birds will reduce the likelihood that they will return.
Step 3
Repair any holes left open that may attract the attention of woodpeckers as soon as possible. If there are areas where the birds return to cause damage, try covering the holes with metal materials.
Step 4
Provide alternative nesting areas to draw the birds away from your siding, because larger holes may be an attempt to nest. Colorado State University's Extension Program suggests filling an appropriately sized nesting box with sawdust, fooling the birds into performing maintenance that will satisfy their urge to construct their own nest.

Offense

Step 1
Hang a pair of hawk silhouettes. Woodpeckers fear birds of prey. Hawk silhouettes will deter them from the area. Extension agents suggest painting your plywood or foam hawk silhouettes a dark color. Hang them in pairs near the spots woodpeckers frequent.
Step 2
Wrap aluminum foil around tree branches where the birds prefer to land. Shiny objects deter some woodpeckers, although not every woodpecker will fear their effects enough to stay away. You can also attach aluminum strips or mirrors to the house near the spots where damage occurs. Aluminum pie tins do double-duty, producing loud intermittent noises and shine.
Step 3
Drape netting or string fishing line across the areas where the birds land or tend to create holes. This is especially effective in hard to reach areas where the net and string may deny them a landing spot. The birds appear to have a difficult time seeing or navigating around these items and will shy away from the spot.

Tips & Warnings

 
Try a multi-pronged approach for best results, combining several of these tactics.
 
Bird repellents may help, but they are not rated for use on woodpeckers and they are also known to stain wood in some environments.

Article Written By Alice Moon

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.

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