How To Get Rid Of Woodpeckers Must Be Done With No Harm To The Woodpecker

Get Rid Of Woodpeckers

To get rid of woodpeckers, that is the question. Whether 'tis nobler to suffer the drumming and drilling or to take arms against a sea of woodpeckers and by opposing end them.

Getting rid of woodpeckers and woodpecker problems may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if your cedar shingles are being drilled by woodpeckers and leaving ugly holes in the side of your home, you need to take action and solve your woodpecker problems.

Woodpeckers are a funny bird as evidenced by the Walter Lanz cartoon, Woody Woodpecker made back in the 1940s. The manic cartoon character survived into the 1950s and 60s and several people have given him voice including the famous Mel Blanc.

But we are talking about real woodpeckers here and how to get rid of woodpeckers, of course, but only if they are causing problems, like drilling holes in the side of you home.

Their beak has many characteristics of a chisel which enables them to cut through wood very effectively. The chisel like beak is backed up up by a long tongue which can slither into the enlarged hole made by his hammering. The tongue is long and sticky, has bristles on it which makes grabbing and extracting insects very easy to do even if the prey is deep within a hole of a tree.

There is some controversy over whether the Ivory-billed woodpecker is extinct or not. That woodpecker was pretty big, 20 inches long and about 1.1 lb, and would really do a number on your homes wooden exterior if he was still around, but even if he is not extinct there are a plethora of other woodpecker species to go around. There are about 200 species and about 30 genera in this family. But in the United States we only have to deal with about 23 species.

The Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects woodpeckers so plinking away at the woodpeckers is not a viable solutions to woodpecker control. And who wants to bring down the wrath of the Sierra Club and the millions of tree-huggers on your head.

However, if it is a really bad woodpecker problem, a federal permit is required before any lethal methods of woodpecker control is used. A request for an application for a depredation permit can be obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Migratory Bird Permit Office or download from their website at, Choose the “Permits” section, select “migratory bird permits, and then click on “depredation application form”. Submit the completed application along with the application fee.

Woodpeckers like to dine on cedar, rough pine, redwood siding and in some cases stucco. Masonite and plywood are not their favorite sidings.

The best way is to exclude these little rascals from your environment. This is not easy nor is it practical in most cases of woodpeckers problems.

There are a number of woodpecker deterrents that can be tried:


While decoys work on the principle of fright, they are not the most effective woodpecker deterrent. Decoys can consist of hawk silhouettes and enlarging mirrors placed on the side of the home or structure where the woodpecker is drilling. Some people make hawk mobiles from cardboard with a wing span of 22 inches and a height of 11 inches. Styrofoam and ¼ inch plywood can be used also.

Plastic owls do not scare woodpeckers.

Other devices for scaring woodpeckers are mylar strips, aluminum pie tins 12 inches in diameter, and pinwheels.

If the critters are really persistent it is possible to use all of the above devices together in tandem to frighten the little buggers away.

Some woodpeckers can be frightened away with loud noises such as baning pots and pan together, firing carbide cannons, yelling, or firing toy cap guns. If it's legal a few blasts of a 12 guage shotgun would work pretty well depending on how far away your nearest neighbor lives.

At last we come to the most effective way of getting rid of woodpeckers. These are the repellents. These are chemical products with bad tastes and objectionable odors, but none are currently registered for the use as woodpecker control.

There are sticky bird repellents which can be applied to the side of houses and other structures. Be careful in applying these to the side of your home because in hot weather they may stain the wood..

A final word on exclusion. If you repair large holes quickly it may discourage the woodpecker from returning and seek other venues for drilling and drumming.

And if you find none of these methods work, you can always join the enemy by providing nesting boxes for woodpeckers. They normally excavate their own cavities, but some species use existing cavities or nest boxes. Dead or dying trees, also known as snags, are the usual nesting cavities, but the availability of snags has diminished with the growth of cities. If you can get one into a nest box, they will drive other woodpeckers away – they are very territorial and that may be the solution to how to get rid of woodpeckers.

This is the end of this subject: Get Rid Of Woodpeckers.

Copyright 2009 by Walter A. Brown,

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