Woodpeckers feed primarily on bugs and insects found in dead wood. Under normal circumstances that means drilling holes into old trees and stumps, but sometimes it mean attacking live trees or other wooden structures in your yard. When this happens, they can become a nuisance both by destroying your property and by waking you at the crack of dawn with their incessant hammering. There are several ways to curtail the work of woodpeckers. Try these tricks to control annoying woodpecker activity in your yard.
If woodpeckers repeatedly attack poles or the eaves of your home, you can deter them with a physical barrier, such as a sheet of flashing or bird netting. Use flashing to cover poles where woodpeckers are drilling. This will prevent them from reaching the wood and send them on their way to another food source. Use netting under eaves, leaving a space of several inches between the netting and the wood. This prevents them from being able to reach the wood.
There are several types of deterrents for keeping woodpeckers away. You may wish to use one or more of these methods to control woodpecker activity in your yard.
- Sound Deterrents: These typically come in two forms: electronic devices that broadcast the distress call of a woodpecker and/or its predators, and electronic deterrents that make noise when they detect movement. You can purchase sound deterrents at your local gardening supply center.
- Visual Deterrents: Sometimes adding visual deterrents is enough to deter woodpeckers from hanging around your yard and attacking trees, poles or the sides of buildings. Try hanging long strips of aluminum foil that flutter in the breeze and reflect sunlight to deter woodpeckers. Other options include placing pinwheels or other whirligigs near the site where they will be set in motion from the wind. You can also purchase a plastic owl and place it nearby. Those attached to a spring that simulates the movement of a live owl tend to work best.
- Physical Deterrents for Sapsuckers: Some woodpeckers, called sapsuckers, drill holes in live trees and drink the sap. They may drill several rows of holes that can ultimately damage the tree. To deter sapsuckers, cover the affected area with burlap to prevent the woodpeckers from doing further damage. Likewise, you can cover the section of the tree with flashing or hardware cloth to prevent the woodpecker from drilling more holes.
If you enjoy wildlife you may choose to lure the woodpeckers to another location in your yard instead of trying to keep them away. One way to do this is to provide an alternate food source. Most woodpeckers will happily eat from suet feeders and many will visit feeders filled with sunflower seeds or other birdseed mixtures. When woodpeckers have an ample food source available they will be less likely to rat-a-tat-tat on the side of your home early in the morning.
While woodpeckers can be annoying, there are ways to keep them under control without harming the birds. Use one or more of these methods to control woodpecker problems in your yard. For more ideas, contact a business like Decorative Foam and Stone.