How can you prevent woodpeckers from damaging your home?

It is still a mystery why woodpeckers find it necessary to peck holes in siding or peck at chimneys. The most common theories include searching for insects and establishing their territory for mating rituals.  

Regardless, woodpeckers are a migratory non-game bird protected by the State and Federal Wildlife Departments and therefore should not be harmed.  

The most effective methods of preventing woodpeckers from damaging your home all have common objectives, to keep the woodpecker preoccupied or hazing the bird from your home.  

Several methods are listed below:  

  • If there is a shiny metal object on your home that woodpeckers drum on, cover it in burlap to discourage them from finding it attractive. However, like a wooden owl, the woodpecker will eventually figure out that it’s harmless. So keep the woodpecker preoccupied by placing a metal/tin object on the far end of your property away from bedrooms and neighbors.          
  • Completely smother a pine cone in cheese to attract the woodpecker and sprinkle it with cayenne pepper. Place the pine cone(s) where the most woodpecker activity is; one taste of the cayenne pepper and the woodpecker should be convinced to relocate.  
  • Fill a small spray bottle with water and Tabasco sauce. Spray the area where the woodpecker is causing damage such as tree bark, siding, etc. Let the woodpecker come back and peck at that area again.  Woodpeckers typically do not like hot sauce and will remember never to peck that area again.  
  • Also, hang thick plastic over the damaged areas of your home and other likely areas the woodpecker may seek out; the slick surface of the plastic will prevent any woodpecker from landing on the siding of your home. Note: this is only a temporary solution.  
  • If you have not had your home treated for insects lately, you may be supplying the woodpecker with an amply supply of food. Call an exterminator to treat your home for pests.  
  • If you are home often enough, keep a watch out for the woodpeckers and every time they perch and begin to drum, spray them with high-pressure hose.  They don't like that either.  
  • One of our listeners, Mrs. Summers, swears by a trick she and her husband created. They hung cd’s with fishing line from the peak of their roof. It has been nearly 2 years since they have had a woodpecker at their home! Alternative materials for just such usage include tin foil, cardboard spray painted with a bright color etc. 
  • Ropel is a great woodpecker repellant.  It can be sprayed on any surface using a garden style pump sprayer.
  • Another tip from a fellow listener suggests mounting halved oranges on the fence to move the birds attention to the oranges rather than the home.
Rosie and Romey Romero, Every Arizona Homeowners Best Friend
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