Woodpecker pecking on the house?!

linnea56October 22, 2012

I don't know where to post this question!

The house has aluminum siding, but painted cedar trim. It's 26 years old, the trim has never deteriorated, so has never been replaced. Painted about 4 years ago: the paint is still in good shape, except where this bird is attacking it!

What does this mean? Does it mean we have bugs in or under that wood? Thanks.

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Pecking is not always foraging behavior. It is also a territorial display. Lots of information is available:


    Bookmark   October 22, 2012 at 3:27PM
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I agree, sounds like he is drumming.

Hang some scare tape near the drumming spot - it will usually annoy them enough so that they go elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 11:45AM
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We had one jack-hammering on the next door neighbor's chimney cap (metal) for a few weeks. Sounded like a metal shop.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 3:13PM
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I have a house that has Hardiboard (concrete composite) vertical siding, with vertical cedar batting every foot. I do not have insects in the cedar strips, but I did have a woodpecker that liked to fly under the eaves, hold onto the tops of the battens, and proceed to destroy them. I tried everything from yelling, to throwing a handful of gravel, to hanging a plastic owl nearby. Nothing worked. Finally I got up on a ladder with a stapler and that black mesh bird netting and stapled it on to the top portion of the battens and the underside of the roof, which blocked the area the woodpecker liked to hang out. That was three years ago, and the bird hasn't returned...except to drum on my steel chimney cap at 7am, but I can deal with that.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 3:56PM
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I got a good look at the bird. We were on each side of the window from each other. It looks like she is a female red bellied woodpecker. She had a strip of red on her head, but not enough to be a male. The damage is worse than I thought. The holes are half an inch to almost an inch wide. Most of it is limited to an area less than 2 feet square. Maybe we have some rot there, that we didn't notice under the paint.

Do such birds do territorial displays in the fall? And do females do it too? Thanks.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 5:54PM
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This happened to me, too, except that it was the galvanized steel flue pipe. I asked a bird professor (ornithologist) what it was all about, and he said it was a male trying to attract females. Who knew? But my episode was in the Spring. Anyway, I tried it myself, but no luck. Wife thought I was nuts.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 12:34AM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

If it has red on the head and is a red bellied, it is a male.

. Adult female: red on the head is limited to nasal tufts (just above the bill)

    Bookmark   October 27, 2012 at 4:47AM
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Buy one of the kid water guns make a weak solution of ammonia and water, use just enough ammonia so the mix has a slight smell. Next time the bird attack house take a squirt at him, you probably won,t hit him but if you even get close he won,t come back. I had a bunch of swallows nesting under my deck they would actually attack anyone coming in area. I tore out the nest and they rebuilt. A friend suggested the ammonia thing, bought a kids water gun tried it after second time the birds left and have not been back.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 12:24AM
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That sounds like an idea worth trying.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2012 at 1:57AM
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Your best bet with any bird problem is to limit access if you can.

Keep in mind that harassing some protected species of birds could land you in legal trouble if someone that does not like what you are doing observes the offense.

Some more suggestions:


    Bookmark   October 29, 2012 at 2:35PM
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Since I retired I have taken up photography as a hobby and one of my prime interests is bird photography.

In turn, I have joined a birdwatching club sponsored by the University of Massachusetts and through the club I have met a number of PHD level ornithologists.

I had noticed a woodpecker that consistently was pecking on an aluminum light pole and I knew it could not be in the pursuit of bugs under the bark...LOL

So I asked the experts and was I surprised at what I learned.

During the mating season the young males demonstrate their prowese to the females by making the most noise when pecking and as is common with men everywhere...some of the male woodpeckers cheat, they have realized they make more noise and get more attention by pecking on aluminum light poles or aluminum siding than the can by pecking on a tree limb so while your trying to run the poor little guy off, keep in mind, your messing up his love life....LOL

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 1:49AM
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Sex or food.

Sounds more like sex on aluminum.

He likely thinks it makes him VERY loud.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2012 at 4:54PM
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