Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hodge Podge Day: Woodpecker Tips

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does,we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining-they just shine. ~Dwight L. Moody

Today I have some great tips from readers who had woodpecker problems!

I had a friend who was having a terrible time with a woodpecker that would continue to bore holes no matter how it was filled. An aviarian vet told them to put up some of the bat wings you find at Halloween to deter the bird. If the large plastic bat wings were not available then to take a pair of black stockings and stretch them over a pair of wire coat hangers to make them look like large wings. This will resembles a hawk or predatory bird to the woodpecker and they will leave the area for a safer site. It worked like a charm for them. ~Patty

Woodpeckers will peck for a number of reasons: to get bugs out of the wood (not a good sign if the wood is on your house!), to make noise to attract a mate, to make a home (not good if this is already your home - once they are nested it is quite difficult to convince them to leave). Just make noise of your own when they come around - yelling or banging pots will drive them right away. Do this each time they show up and they'll get the idea very quickly that this isn't a nice place to be for them! ~Nadine

One of my neighbors had a woodpecker that would come every morning about 5 AM and sit on the corner of their bedroom where there was a drain pipe. You can imagine the noise it made. That corner was also right across from our bedroom. We joked about it a lot. For his birthday I bought a plastic woodpecker and had my son go up and install the fake bird to the drain pipe when my neighbor was gone. The real woodpecker never returned. We had many laughs about that with the neighbor and it was a solution to the noise that woke us all up every morning. ~epearson

We have woodpeckers in our backyard that LOVE our trees (thankfully not our house) but here is what I know about why they peck on the wood of any house - The birds peck where there are bugs to eat! It is a great way to forage for food. Soooo... removing the food supply will help get the birds to a tree faster!

The person with the woodpecker problem may have termites, boring carpenter ants or some such critter that lives in soggy, rotting wood areas under eaves, around windows, etc. Time to get the ladder out - inspect the area where the birds are pecking and remove and replace any damaged areas with new wood. Treat for the bugs that are in the old wood by spraying an environmentally friendly bug solution to the surrounding area. If you have a termite infestation in the walls of the house -better get a professional in.) Cover the new wood with a couple of coats of good house paint and voila! You will be on the road to send those peckers packin'! ~Susan

In regard to keeping woodpeckers from pecking on your house, try putting a fake rubber snake on the roof near where the woodpeckers go. This seems to work really well for our neighbor, whose house has cedar siding. Or, if there's a tree nearby try hanging an old CD from a limb. The birds don't like the moving reflections as the CD turns in the breeze. ~Susan in Arkansas

On OFL we also have tips on spring cleaning:

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