Updated: 05/02/2023

Why Are The Woodpeckers Damaging My Home’s Siding?

Springtime. The clocks move forward, and the environment comes alive with a renewed abundance of plant and animal life. Every year about this time we get calls, and emails, from homeowners throughout the Pacific Northwest to repair bird damage caused by Woodpeckers and Flickers. Our clients are looking to repair the damage and find solutions to prevent future issues. The problem in and of itself is easy to define. Birds have pecked damaging holes in your home or building. However, making an informed decision for the next steps requires an understanding of why this is happening.

3 Reasons That Woodpeckers Damage Your Home

  1. The number one reason that woodpeckers and flickers peck wood is to find food. Wood-pecking birds feed on larvae, ants, and other insects in wood. Once a wood-pecking bird creates an opening in your home, they use its long tongues to catch and feed on insects. If you have birds pecking on your home, you likely have a dry rot infestation that is a food source for insects. It is important to remember that these birds do not eat wood or wood-related fungus. If this is the case, it is important to eradicate the dry rot fungus and eliminate the source of moisture intrusion that fosters fungal growth. If you do not take these steps, you will likely be repairing more bird damage in the future. The biggest indicator that woodpeckers are foraging for insects is multiple small holes and pecking in various areas.
  2. The following reason on the list is nesting. Every creature needs a home, and you might be leasing space to these critters. Whereas most birds build their nests by collecting grass, twigs, and other flotsam, woodpeckers use their ability to carve with their beaks to craft their nests; if the bird assaulting your home is consistently working on carving a single more giant hole–that indicates nesting.
  3. The third reason is seasonal. Every spring (usually in March and April), flickers and woodpeckers will find a hard surface to peck that makes a loud noise. They do this to attract females and intimidate other males. They will even peck metal siding and satellite dishes. If you hear a steady rhythm tattooed on your home’s side, it could just be a warning to other birds and predators.

How much damage can woodpeckers do to my home?

Believe it or not, these small birds cause damage on a large scale. Homes and buildings in wooded suburban neighborhoods or rural areas are the most affected. It is estimated that the cost of bird damage in these areas averages $1k+ per home and millions of dollars in North America annually.

To add insult to injury, most homeowners’ insurance does not cover bird, rodent, or insect damage. Most policies consider these damages as routine maintenance and the homeowner’s responsibility. Often the cost to repair is less than the average deductible and not worth it. However, it’s a subtle reminder not to let these repairs slip as they can become more costly over time.

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Siding Repair - Woodpecker Hole In Siding

5 ways you can discourage woodpeckers and flickers from damaging your home?

  1. Hanging shiny streamers or reflective tape around and over holes. This may work to varying degrees. The bird will likely start a new hole if you have an underlying dry rot or insect issue.
  2. Bird Decoys. This is essentially a scarecrow idea. Get a plastic decoy of a predatory bird like a Great Horned Owl and put it near the area. The thought is that the decoy will chase the woodpeckers and flicker off. This isn’t that effective. Probably not the best idea unless you collect plastic owls.
  3. Filling holes with wood putty or epoxy. This is not a good idea if you have underlying dry rot issues, either. It will most likely cause a moisture intrusion point that can lead to dry rot and insects if you don’t already have them. Not a good long-term solution to stop the woodpeckers from damaging your home.
  4. If the birds aren’t feeding but nesting, purchasing and hanging up a few nesting houses might be a great idea. Put a piece of plastic over the bird damage and encourage the little home invader to be a neighbor rather than a roommate.
  5. By all means, feed the woodpeckers and the flickers. Please pick up a couple of birdhouses and strategically place them around the home so the birds can easily access food so they stop making a meal out of your house. Extend an olive branch and make peace if you can.

Woodpecker Damage Repair Contractor

Keep in mind these are only temporary solutions. To repair woodpecker damage properly, you need to contact a good contractor to repair the siding damage. If you live in a wet climate, like the Pacific Northwest, or have woodpeckers damage make sure it is a contractor specializing in siding repair and waterproofing. More than likely, your wall cavity and the weather-resistant barrier will need to be repaired along with the siding, and you need someone skilled on your home’s exterior envelope system.

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