Woodpeckers are territorial birds that are most active in the spring and fall. All members of the woodpecker family are protected by federal law (i.e., the Migratory Bird Treaty Act) as well as by the laws of most states. A permit is required from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill damage-causing birds. Non-lethal methods of resolving the problem are always preferred over killing the birds.
What Kind of Woodpeckers Cause Damage?
Woodpeckers cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage to homes each year. One woodpecker can destroy siding on a home or business in just a few days. Once a woodpecker creates a hole in the siding, many times other birds will move into the walls. A few species of woodpeckers that most commonly cause structural damage include:
- Downy woodpecker
- Hairy woodpecker
- Red-headed woodpecker
- Red-bellied woodpecker
What Kind of Damage Do Woodpeckers Cause?
Wooden houses or buildings in the suburbs or in more rural wooded settings are most apt to be damaged by woodpeckers, for this is the habitat where they thrive. Generally, damage to a building involves only one or two birds. Damage to wooden buildings may take one of several forms. Holes may be drilled into wooden siding, eave facing boards, or window casings and, if the accessible cavity is suitable, it may be used as a nesting site. Natural or stained rough cedar wood siding seems preferred in some regions whereas redwood siding is damaged extensively in other areas. Contrary to a rather common belief that only insect-infested wood is damaged, some species of woodpeckers readily peck holes in wood sidings of homes and outbuildings with no insect issues.
- Adult body length: 6 to 18 inches
- Adult body weight: 1 to 16 ounces
- Egg incubation period: 11 to 14 days
- Broods per year: 1 to 3 (depending on species)
- Brood size: 3 to 8 eggs per clutch (depending on species)
- Birthing Period: Spring and summer
- Age at which young leave nest: 2 to 5 weeks
- Activity seasonality: Year-round Primary diet: insects, acorns, nuts, seed, suet, berries, other fruits
Woodpecker Deterrents, Repellants, Trapping, and Removal
Our licensed bird removal service team will begin with a comprehensive inspection of your attic, roof, siding, and foundation. We will locate problem areas and provide complete and professional bird exclusion, bird entrance closeups, and bird damage repair.
Harassment and Deterrents
There are a variety of deterrents used to harass woodpeckers in an attempt to make them leave the site. Most are visual and use sunlight to reflect light to scare them away. These deterrents can be attached to the home or adjacent trees to maximize sunlight needed to reflect light onto the structure.
Trapping and Removal
It is common for persistent woodpeckers to get used to the deterrents and repellents and still cause damage to the structure. Once all non-lethal options have been exhausted, homeowners and businesses can apply for a permit to remove the problem woodpeckers. The USDA Wildlife Services should be contacted by calling 866-487-3297; they will provide technical assistance and help determine the necessary steps. If a permit is recommended, they will provide guidance on the application process with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). USFWS charges an application fee for residential homeowners permits.
Varment Guard technicians are equipped to apply a variety of repellants to the siding of your home to help prevent woodpeckers from pecking or landing on your home.