“Woodpeckers Are Attacking Our House…Again!”

By Chris Williams on March 11, 2014.

Woodpecker home damage in New EnglandQuestion

Once again, we are being plagued by woodpeckers hammering on our house. They do this every year and usually end up pecking a couple of holes in our cedar siding. We shoo them away (not so easy) and repair the holes, but next spring they’re back doing the same thing. How can we stop this crazy pattern?


The good news is there are some scare tactics and exclusion methods that you can try. The bad news is that they don’t always work, especially when you have woodpeckers that have exhibited this same behavior before. Unfortunately, your cedar siding has become a part of what they do.

Woodpeckers peck on houses for a couple of different reasons. In late spring/early summer, they are often after carpenter bee larvae (see “The Woodpecker-Carpenter Bee Connection”) or other insects in the siding, eaves, or in other wood on a house. This early in the spring, though, they are probably just “drumming” on the house in an attempt to establish mating territory and attract females. They like the noise your siding makes. Sometimes, woodpeckers will try to enlarge a hole in wood siding with the idea of starting a nest opening. They often make more than one attempt and you can end up with several holes from false starts.

Give Colonial a call. We have trained bird management specialists on staff. They can evaluate your situation and come up with a plan that can save your siding and your sanity. Woodpeckers are protected by federal law so we can’t get rid of the birds without a federal permit. But we can try to change their behavior and make your house off limits. We’ll also make sure that nesting carpenter bees aren’t part of your woodpecker problem.

Scare Repellents

Woodpeckers can sometimes be scared away from a site with visual repellents like mylar balloons or twirlers. These have mixed results, usually the birds get used to them. Woodpeckers can be scared away with loud noises like clapping, shouting, cap pistols, or banging on a garbage can lid. Sounds like you’ve tried this already. As you know, this method is very time-intensive since you have to initiate the noise every time the birds appear and may have to keep it up for days. Both of these scare methods are most effective when woodpeckers have just started their drumming. Once this behavior is established, it takes a lot to discourage the birds.

Exclusion Methods

If the birds are attacking only one area on your house, we may be able to temporarily block it off with bird netting, plastic sheeting, or flashing. Bird wire or fishing line can sometimes be strung across the damaged area to keep birds from getting close to that part of the house.



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