Woodpeckers can do serious damage to a house, breaking windows and putting holes in the siding.
However, there are several things that you can do to prevent woodpecker damage without harming the birds.
To stop woodpeckers from pecking your windows, hang reflective tape or shiny objects near the window to scare the birds away. You can also cover the windows with window decals or curtains to hide the bird’s reflection. Woodpeckers peck windows both to make noise and to fight their own reflections.
How You Stop Woodpeckers From Pecking Your Windows
One of the best ways to deter woodpeckers from pecking at your windows is to hang reflective materials nearby.
Aluminum foil, mylar balloons, pinwheels, and reflective tape effectively keep woodpeckers and other birds away.
You can also deter woodpeckers by placing a barrier between the window and the outdoors, like a mesh screen or cover.
This will both reduce the reflectiveness of the window and keep the woodpecker from being able to reach it.
Preventing a bird from seeing its reflection is a good option.
You can do this by covering the window with shutters or curtains or by placing artistic decals on the window, like this Stained Glass Window Film from Amazon.com.
If you want to keep woodpeckers away from your property altogether, try installing a predator decoy like an owl or hawk lookalike.
This will prevent woodpeckers from roosting nearby.
Finally, you can deter woodpeckers from a specific window with strong smells, like the aroma of garlic or peppermint.
To create a garlic repellent spray, follow these directions:
- Peel an entire bulb of garlic.
- Crush the garlic.
- Mix garlic with two cups of olive oil.
- Store the oil and garlic mixture in the fridge for five days.
- Spray the mixture on windows, doors, or plants where you want to keep woodpeckers from pecking.
To create a peppermint repellent spray, simply mix four to five drops of peppermint essential oil with two cups of water, then spray areas where you don’t want woodpeckers to peck.
The most effective of all these methods is using reflective materials, as birds are much more sensitive to light than to smell, and you can apply reflective materials exactly where you don’t want the birds to land or peck.
Why Do Birds Dislike Reflective Materials?
Birds dislike reflective materials because they cause the light to bounce and shine directly in their faces.
They rely heavily on their eyesight, so anything so distracting and alarming makes them not want to come near.
Bird repellent tape like the Kugge Bird Flash Tape from Amazon.com has the added benefit of making a crackling sound in the wind, which tricks birds into thinking there’s a fire nearby and deters them even more.
Why Do Woodpeckers Peck Windows and Houses?
Woodpeckers peck on windows and house sidings for many reasons.
For one, it makes a loud noise, alerting other birds in the area that the territory has been claimed and drawing in their mates.
If a woodpecker is pecking a window, it may be trying to fight its reflection, in addition to making noise.
Birds often perceive their reflections as a threat, and a threatened woodpecker will continue pecking for several minutes, sometimes even to the point of breaking the window.
Territorial pecking is especially common in the springtime when woodpeckers are beginning the mating process and defending new territory.
Alternatively, if the woodpecker is pecking the siding more than the window, it might be hunting or storing food. Insects like carpenter bees and bagworms, which are good food for woodpeckers, live in the siding of houses.
And woodpeckers like to store food like acorns in small holes that they can access later.
Finally, a woodpecker that pecks at a house might be trying to peck a roosting hole.
This process usually starts around April and May when the birds begin to mate and breed, and it results in a very large hole for nesting.
Why Do Woodpeckers Peck Some Houses and Not Others?
Because houses have different kinds of siding, some are more appealing to woodpeckers than others.
Typically, woodpeckers will be more common at houses that have grooved plywood siding, with non-wood sidings being the least likely to suffer damage, according to one study.
This same study showed that painted houses are less prone to woodpecker damage due to the lack of natural gaps in the siding, where insects would normally live.
It also showed that houses near trees are more prone to woodpecker damage because these areas have more woodpeckers in general.
How To Keep Woodpeckers From Pecking Siding
Because woodpeckers often peck houses in search of insects, you’ll likely have success preventing woodpeckers from pecking your siding if you take care of your insect infestations and remove this food source.
You can also prevent woodpeckers from pecking your siding by installing suet feeders.
If you have a suet feeder, woodpeckers will most likely target this food source instead of going after your siding.
You can also cover problem areas with burlap, which prevents the woodpecker from continuing to peck through your siding.
How Not To Deter Woodpeckers: What To Avoid
When you’re trying to keep woodpeckers away from your windows, it’s just as important that you know what not to do as it is to know what to do.
You should avoid doing anything that would harm the birds, like using sticky repellents.
Sticky repellents like Roost-No-More, Tanglefoot Pest Control, and Bird Stop can cause injury and even death in birds and other animals, and you should make sure to avoid them.
You should also avoid using poisons, which cause a chain reaction of poisoning in the ecosystem and result in painful deaths.
Most bird poisons, also called avicides, attack the bird’s nervous system and cause a significant amount of suffering.