Woodpeckers

Actual Size: 2.8-20 inches

Characteristics: A wide range of sizes and plumage is seen within the woodpecker family. They have sharp, pointed beaks and long tongues.

Behavior:

  • Although coloring and size can vary widely, woodpeckers are identifiable by their distinct “pecking”.
  • Woodpeckers will feed on insects, grubs, and other invertebrates.
  • They are classified as migratory birds, which means they are federally protected.
  • Woodpeckers peck and drum for a variety of reasons, including territory expansion, mate-calling, and searching for food.

 

Category:

Pest Description

Woodpecker Behavior

Woodpeckers were named because of their tendency to “peck.” There are a variety of reasons behind the pecking; they may be searching for insects, building a nest, or searching for an area to store food. A woodpecker pecking on wood material should be recognized as different from “drumming”, which involves pecking in rapid succession. Drumming is done to establish territory or attract mates, and woodpeckers may repeat this activity on homes, trees, or other surface areas with adequate acoustics.

Problems Caused by Woodpeckers

The most obvious woodpecker damage happens when drumming is performed. This activity can cause unsightly holes in structures, homes, utility poles, and other surfaces. When woodpeckers have pecked or drummed a hole into a home, insulation can begin to protrude. Woodpeckers will then pick the insulation out to find food underneath, costing hundreds to thousand of dollars in damage. The other damage that woodpeckers can inflict is purely mental, due to the incessant drumming or pecking–even if no structural damage is done.

Preventing and Controlling Woodpeckers

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, woodpeckers are federally protected. No methods that injure, trap, or remove woodpeckers can be employed against these pests without consulting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. There are steps that can be taken to dissuade woodpeckers from continuing to nest in or around a building, but they must be taken under careful consideration for the laws that regulate migratory birds and environments.  It’s always best to call a professional bird control expert, especially if the identity of the bird is unknown.

Visual deterrents have been shown as effective, especially reflective mylar stripping or specialized balloons. If the typical patterns of a woodpecker can be disrupted, there is a good chance the woodpecker will depart the area. Small netting or screening can also be installed, but it’s crucial to gain an expert’s opinion before any environmental change is made. Again, these birds are federally protected, and there are serious consequences for harming a migratory bird. At Pest Control Inc, we have the resources necessary to identify the bird in question, and determine the best course of action. We use a variety of different treatment techniques, including surveillance, baiting, and exclusion solutions.