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.

4 Reasons That Woodpeckers Peck Wood

  • 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 their long tongues to catch and feed on insects. If you have birds pecking on your home, it is likely you 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 fostered the fungal growth. If you do not take these steps it is very likely you will be repairing more bird damage in your future. The biggest indicator that woodpeckers are foraging for insects are multiple small holes and pecking in various areas.

  • The next reason on the list is nesting. Every creature needs a home, and you might be leasing space to critters. Whereas most birds build their nests by collecting grass, twigs, and other flotsam; woodpeckers use their ability to carve with there beaks to craft their nests. If the bird assaulting your home is consistently working on carving a single larger hole, that is a clear indication of nesting.

  • The number three reason on our list is a seasonal issue. 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 being tattooed on the side of your home, it could just be a warning to other birds and predators.

  • Finally, they peck because they are genetically programmed to do so. With their strong necks and beaks these creatures will peck up to 10,000 times per day. They have naturally strong necks and avoid concussions with genetic shock absorbents that aid in balancing vibration.

What Are The Effects Of Bird Damage?

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 average $300.00 per home and millions of dollars in our country annually. To add insult to injury, most homeowner’s insurance does not cover bird, rodent, or insect damage. Most policies consider these damages as routine maintenance and the responsibility of the homeowner. Often the cost to repair is less than the average deductible.

What Are Some Ways Homeowners Can Discourage Woodpeckers?

  • Hanging shiny streamers or a reflective tape around and over holes. This may work to varying degrees. If you have an underlying dry rot or insect issue the bird will most likely just start a new hole.

  • 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 the woodpeckers and flickers will be chased off by the decoy. This hasn’t been found to be that effective. Probably not the best idea unless you collect plastic owls.

  • Filling holes with wood putty or epoxy. This is not a good idea if you have underlying issues either. It isn’t a proper way to repair your siding. It will most likely cause a moisture intrusion point that can lead to dry rot and insects if you don’t already have them.

  • If the birds aren’t feeding, but nesting, it might be a great idea to purchase and hang up a couple of nesting houses. Put a piece of plastic up over the bird damage and encourage the little home invader to be a neighbor rather than a roommate.

Keep in mind these are only temporary solutions. The final solution is to contact a good contractor to repair the damage. If you live in a wet climate, like the Pacific Northwest, make sure it is a contractor that specializes in siding repair and waterproofing.