Year of the Woodpecker

Oenoke Ridge Rd, New Canaan, CTThings tend to run in cycles. Some years it’s lady bugs, some years its slugs, but this year its woodpeckers. You can have a bungalow, or you can have a mansion. In either case, its seems woodpeckers are trying to move in. Cornell Lab of Ornithology did a study a few years back with their sample having woodpecker damage in over 25% of the homes surveyed. Here are a few suggestions about discouraging these fellows in a humane way. In discussing this issue with local homeowners, many a time the homeowner has not walked around the property in months or even years. If you have not done so, this spring is a great time to do it. As part of the free estimate from Pound Ridge Painting Co., we gladly walk around your home with you.

If your home has woodpecker damage, it is suggested that it be inspected for insects. The earlier you do so, the less the damage and the less the cost. Holes in the fascia boards may be either the result of drumming, in which case there are usually very small holes in clusters at specific points on the fascia boards, or the result of woodpeckers foraging for carpenter bee larvae.

What is surprising to most homeowners is that the color of your home has an impact. Often there is no damage to the siding, especially when the house is painted in shades of white, pastels, or other bright colors. The house is at higher risk if the stain is an earth tone such as brown, dark red or dark green.

In regard to control, Cornell has many excellent points. The keys are to be humane and not damage the house in other ways. Although some people recommend applying sticky repellents such as Tanglefoot Pest Control, Roost-No-More, and Bird Stop to areas where damage is occurring, the study was against using them. These products can get on a bird’s plumage, impairing its ability to fly and stay warm. Moreover, they can darken and stain wooden siding and cause dirt to adhere to the surface where they’re applied.

Irri-tape, Terror Eyes, plastic owls, bird net, and bird x-peller are a few products people have had success with. Installing and maintaining a bird feeder away from the house will also help. A trip to the local hardware store will give you both advice and a selection of products to use.

If you wish to research this issue further, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology is an excellent starting point.