Nature can be a thing of wonder and beauty – from a safe distance. But when wildlife gets up close and personal with our home territory, it can be a nuisance. For some people, it’s not uncommon to encounter a woodpecker knocking at their door – or at least, their siding.
With the obvious exception of brick, just about all forms of siding – including wood shingles, shakes or clapboard, synthetic stucco and even vinyl over wood – can be attractive to woodpeckers, who, being slowly but surely pushed out of their natural environments, find your home a welcome place to carve out a spot to nest or hunt for yummy insects. Woodpeckers can be 7 to 15 inches tall and have short, strong legs and sharp-clawed toes, enabling them to be quite comfortable as they peck away at your house.
Fortunately, there are a number of humane, homemade control methods that can encourage woodpeckers to take their pecking behavior elsewhere. Take two or three 12-inch-diameter tin or aluminum pie plates and hang them in the area of woodpecker infestation, allowing them to blow freely in the wind. Mirrors, like the inexpensive 9-inch-diameter round magnifying shaving style, are also effective; affix one or two near the woodpecker’s favored drilling spot. Both of these methods frighten woodpeckers away as the reflections fool them into thinking that predators are near.
Another effective method is to cut strips of black plastic (such as from a large plastic garbage bag) about 2 inches wide and 2 to 3 feet long, and tack them around the infestation zone, again letting them blow freely in the breeze.
Once the woodpeckers clear out, you can remove the woodpecker-proofing decorations and store them in case of any future visits. Then be sure to repair any holes they’ve created or seal up any voids they could possibly return to nest in.
Besides woodpeckers, you might find your home plagued by pesky pigeons, known fondly in New York and other big cities as flying rats. As is done in the city, you can humanely deter their activity by installing plastic or metal bird spikes on areas where they like to land. This deterrent won’t harm them; it just firmly encourages them to seek alternate landing zones.
These humane tips for woodpecker and pigeon control will help you defend your home from these unwanted visitors and ensure that they go off in search of someplace more hospitable.