Q: We have a woodpecker pounding holes in our stucco house. What can we do?
A: Owners of stucco and cedar-sided homes often report that woodpeckers bang on their exterior walls and gutters. The sharp “rattta – tat – tat”� of hard bird beak on a vertical surface near the bedroom sits folks bolt upright in bed at 5:00 a.m.!
Woodpeckers can cause serious damage to siding, columns, and other wooden structures. Soft woods, like cedar, are favorite drumming surfaces. Drumming is a means of communication between woodpeckers. Some birds sing, woodpeckers drum. In rare cases, woodpeckers hammer on siding to hunt for insects. Often, after the birds get started, they make a hole through the siding, pull out insulation and make a nest. Woodpeckers may try drumming on other surfaces like metal gutters and down spouts. If they like the sound they keep it up.
How can you stop woodpecker damage? First, check for insects. That’s not usually the problem. If insects are present, identify them and apply a recommended insecticide.
You can try to make devices to scare the birds. The longer you delay, the harder it is to scare them away. Some suggestions include: alunimum foil strips attached near the drumming hole. The motion frightens the birds away. Pinwheels can be attached at the drumming site with pins, small staples, or tape. Or suspend a series of light-weight objects like pie-tins on a string. Try snake, owl or hawk models that can be mounted at drumming places.
In my experience, none of these seem to work very long.
Though it is ugly, the best woodpecker repellent is to hang bird netting from your gutters. Anothr deterrent is to staple a large expanse of 4 mil. plastic sheet over the affected area. Both prevent the bird from reaching or getting a grip on the wall.
The woodpecker is protected by state law. Though you might have murderous urges towards them early in the morning be assured that the noise will diminish in just a few weeks.