Woodpecker – Control

V. C. called me in an agitated state. “A woodpecker is pecking holes in my kitchen window screen!”, she exclaimed. “What can I do to keep this bird from visiting me every morning?”

This is the time of year when woodpecker complaints begin. The calls to Extension Service Master Gardeners rise each week until late April and then fall precipitously to almost nothing during the summer. Woodpecker woes rise anew for a few weeks in (October) but fall again until March.

An observant person might note that woodpecker activity coincides with changes in day length, which is exactly the cause of this situation. Most, if not all, birds are very sensitive to the amount of light each day. Farmers keep the lights on at night in a chicken house to fool the hens into producing eggs in summer as rapidly as they do in spring. Woodpeckers all around Atlanta instinctively begin looking for mates and homes when daylight increases in spring. For a few weeks in fall, the decrease in daylight triggers similar behavior.

WOODPECKER CONTROL V’s woodpecker is pounding on her window because it “sees” a rival, though it is his own reflection. Many people have observed mockingbirds attacking shiny hubcaps and brown thrashers pecking on car mirrors. The woodpecker is simply trying to establish his spring territory against all challengers.

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 surface near the bedroom sits them bolt upright in bed at 5:00 a.m. Though I have seen folks using plastic owls, inflated snakes and hanging pie pans to deter woodpeckers, none of these seem to work very long.

Though it is ugly, the best woodpecker repellent is to hang bird netting from your gutters. You can also staple a large expanse of 4 mil. plastic sheet over the affected area to prevent the bird from 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.

Excellent Cornell Univ. Site

Woodpecker Biology

Woodpecker Control

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