How To Keep Woodpeckers Off Your House




Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

If you’ve ever been bothered by the incessant drumming or pecking of woodpeckers on your house, you’re not alone. These colorful birds can cause significant damage to your home’s siding as they drill into it to access insects. However, it’s important to note that harming woodpeckers is illegal under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. So what can you do to keep these persistent birds at bay? In this article, we’ll explore various ways to deter woodpeckers, from calling an insect exterminator to setting up pretend predators and using shiny objects. We’ll also discuss the importance of providing alternate nest sites and utilizing unexpected or frightening sounds. Additionally, we’ll delve into the world of suet feeders as a means to attract woodpeckers away from your house, highlighting recommended designs and proper storage techniques. By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with a range of strategies to peacefully coexist with woodpeckers while ensuring the integrity of your beloved abode.

Understanding Woodpecker Behavior

Woodpeckers are fascinating creatures with unique behaviors. Understanding why they peck at houses, how they communicate through drumming, and their drilling habits for insects can help us better coexist with these birds.

Reasons why woodpeckers peck at houses

Woodpeckers may peck at houses for various reasons. One primary reason is drumming, which serves as a form of communication. Woodpeckers use their beaks to create rhythmic patterns on surfaces, often choosing metal surfaces for maximum sound and resonance.

Another reason for woodpeckers pecking at houses is to access insects. Wood siding and other wooden structures can serve as a rich source of food for these birds. By drilling into the wood, they can reach insects that are hidden deep within.

Woodpecker drumming and communication

Drumming is an essential aspect of woodpecker behavior and communication. When woodpeckers drum, they create a series of loud and rapid drumming sounds. This behavior is not only used to communicate with other woodpeckers but also to establish their territory and attract mates.

Woodpeckers have the ability to drum on various surfaces, but they often prefer metal objects due to the amplified sound. The resonating drumming noise acts as a signal to other woodpeckers, conveying important messages about territory boundaries and mating availability.

Woodpecker drilling for insects

Woodpeckers are well-adapted to drill into wood to access insects. They have strong and sharp beaks that allow them to create holes in wooden surfaces. These holes provide them with access to insects such as beetles, ants, and larvae, which serve as their primary source of food.

Drilling for insects can be harmful to wooden structures, such as houses or trees. However, it is important to note that woodpeckers are essential for maintaining a balanced ecosystem, as they help control insect populations. They play a vital role in keeping pest populations in check, making their drilling behavior beneficial in natural settings.

Legal Considerations

Woodpeckers are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means it is illegal to harm these birds or disturb their nests without the appropriate permits. Understanding the legal considerations surrounding woodpeckers is crucial for maintaining their conservation and preventing any potential legal consequences.

Overview of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) is a federal law that protects migratory birds, including woodpeckers, and their nests from any harm or disturbance. It prohibits the capture, killing, possession, or disturbance of these birds without a valid permit.

The MBTA was enacted in 1918 and helps ensure the conservation and sustainable management of migratory bird populations. It is essential to respect the legal protections afforded to woodpeckers and abide by the regulations outlined in the Act.

Consequences of harming woodpeckers

Harming woodpeckers or their nests can have severe consequences. Violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act can result in hefty fines and even imprisonment. It is crucial to understand and respect the legal protections in place to safeguard these birds and their habitats.

Furthermore, harming woodpeckers disrupts the delicate balance of ecosystems. These birds play an integral role in controlling insect populations, and their absence can lead to detrimental ecological repercussions. Rather than resorting to harmful actions, it is important to explore alternatives and deterrent methods to peacefully coexist with woodpeckers.

Deterrent Methods

When woodpeckers become a nuisance by pecking at houses, there are several effective deterrent methods that can be employed to address the issue. These methods focus on providing alternative options for woodpeckers, discouraging their presence, and minimizing damage to wooden structures.

Calling an insect exterminator

One practical approach to deter woodpeckers from pecking at houses is to address the underlying reason behind their behavior – the presence of insects. Calling a professional insect exterminator can help identify and eliminate the insect infestation that attracts woodpeckers to the house.

By eliminating their food source, woodpeckers may be less inclined to continue pecking at the house. It is essential to hire a licensed professional who can safely and effectively eliminate the infestation without causing harm to the environment or other wildlife.

Offering alternate food sources

Providing woodpeckers with alternative food sources can divert their attention away from houses. Installing bird feeders specifically designed for woodpeckers, such as suet feeders, can offer them a readily available and nutritious food supply.

Suet feeders consist of blocks or cakes made from beef fat and mixed with seeds or fruits. Woodpeckers are attracted to these high-energy food sources, which resemble the insects they typically forage for. By offering suet, homeowners can entice woodpeckers away from the house and towards a more suitable feeding area.

Setting up pretend predators

Woodpeckers can be deterred by the presence of potential predators. One method involves placing decoys or silhouettes of larger birds, such as hawks or owls, near the areas where woodpeckers commonly peck. These decoys create the illusion of danger and can discourage woodpeckers from approaching the house.

It is essential to regularly move and change the decoys’ positions to prevent woodpeckers from becoming accustomed to their presence. This tactic aims to mimic a natural predator-prey dynamic and create an environment that feels unsafe for woodpeckers.

Using shiny objects

Woodpeckers are attracted to shiny and reflective surfaces. Hanging aluminum foil strips or reflective tape near the areas where woodpeckers peck can create an unappealing and distracting environment for them. The gleaming surfaces can startle and discourage woodpeckers from continuing their pecking behavior.

Using shiny objects as a deterrent method should be combined with other strategies to increase their effectiveness. The visual stimulation and unexpected reflections can help redirect woodpeckers’ attention away from houses.

Providing alternative nest sites

Sometimes woodpeckers may peck at houses to establish a nesting site. Providing alternative nesting options can prevent them from damaging the house. Installing woodpecker nesting boxes or hollowed logs in a nearby location can provide suitable alternative nesting sites.

These nesting sites should be positioned at a safe distance from the house to avoid further conflicts. By offering suitable nesting options, homeowners can redirect woodpeckers to more appropriate locations and minimize damage to their properties.

Utilizing unexpected or frightening sounds

Woodpeckers are sensitive to unexpected or loud sounds. Creating unexpected noises near the areas where they peck, such as clapping hands or using devices that produce frightening sounds, can startle and discourage woodpeckers.

It is important to note that the aim is to create a temporary disruption rather than cause long-term harm or distress to the woodpeckers. This method serves as a deterrent by associating the pecking behavior with unpleasant and alarming experiences.

Predators of Woodpeckers

While woodpeckers may cause frustration by pecking at houses, they are not exempt from being targeted by predators. Natural predators play an important role in regulating woodpecker populations and maintaining the balance of ecosystems.


Hawks are among the most prominent predators of woodpeckers. These birds of prey possess exceptional aerial hunting skills, often targeting smaller birds like woodpeckers. Their agility and speed make them formidable predators and keep woodpecker populations in check.


Owls, known for their nocturnal behavior, are another threat to woodpecker populations. These stealthy hunters have keen hearing and exceptional night vision, allowing them to swoop down silently on unsuspecting woodpeckers. Owls are natural predators that have coexisted with woodpeckers for centuries.


Snakes also pose a threat to woodpeckers. Arboreal snakes, such as rat snakes or tree snakes, can climb trees and access woodpecker nests or ambush woodpeckers while they are foraging. Snakes are highly adaptable predators that can impact woodpecker populations, particularly during nesting seasons.


Raccoons are opportunistic predators that are known to raid woodpecker nests. These omnivorous mammals have the ability to climb trees and access hidden nests, often preying on woodpecker eggs or chicks. Their natural instinct to search for food can result in significant losses for woodpecker populations.

While predators are part of the natural ecosystem, it is important to strike a balance that ensures the conservation of woodpecker populations while addressing any conflicts they may cause.

Attracting Woodpeckers Away from Houses

For those who appreciate woodpeckers and want to enjoy their presence without the destructive pecking behavior on houses, there are methods to attract them to more suitable areas, such as backyard feeders.

Backyard feeders and suet feeders

Woodpeckers can be easily attracted to backyard feeders by providing them with suitable food sources. Install feeders designed specifically for woodpeckers, such as suet feeders, which offer high-energy foods for these birds.

Suet feeders consist of blocks or cakes made from beef fat mixed with seeds or fruits. Woodpeckers are attracted to these nutrient-rich offerings, mimicking their natural foraging behavior. By placing suet feeders in a visible and accessible location, homeowners can enjoy the presence of woodpeckers while keeping them away from houses.

Understanding woodpecker feeding behavior

To effectively attract woodpeckers, understanding their feeding behavior is essential. Woodpeckers primarily feed on insects, larvae, and beetles found in tree bark or woody surfaces. By providing suitable food sources that resemble their natural prey, homeowners can entice woodpeckers to frequent designated feeding areas instead of pecking at houses.

Additionally, woodpeckers may also feed on fruits, nuts, and seeds. Including a variety of food offerings in the backyard can attract a wider range of woodpecker species. Researching the specific dietary preferences of the woodpecker species in your area can help tailor the feeding options accordingly.

Benefits of suet for woodpeckers

Suet is a highly beneficial food source for woodpeckers. It provides them with the necessary energy to sustain their active lifestyles. The high protein and fat content in suet offer a quick and accessible source of nutrition for these birds.

Furthermore, suet feeders are designed specifically for woodpeckers. They often have tail rests or specialized perches that accommodate the woodpecker’s unique feeding behavior, allowing them to cling onto the feeder and access the suet more easily.

Proper storage and offering tips for suet

Proper storage of suet is essential to ensure its freshness and quality for woodpeckers. Suet should be stored in a cool and dry place to prevent spoilage or melting.

When offering suet to woodpeckers, it is important to consider the weather conditions. Suet should not be offered in hot temperatures, as it can quickly melt and become messy. During hotter months, it is advisable to provide alternatives, such as mealworms or insects, to prevent suet from spoiling.

Recommended Suet Feeders

When choosing suet feeders for woodpeckers, there are several options available that cater to their unique feeding behavior and preferences.

Overview of simple cage designs

simple cage designs are popular suet feeders for woodpeckers. These feeders consist of a wire or mesh cage that holds the suet block or cake. The gaps in the cage allow woodpeckers to cling onto the feeder while pecking at the suet.

The cage design provides stability and prevents larger birds or squirrels from easily accessing the suet. This ensures that woodpeckers have exclusive access to the food source, increasing the chances of attracting them to the designated feeding area.

Features of feeders with tail rests

Feeders with tail rests are specifically designed to accommodate woodpeckers’ natural feeding behavior. These feeders have extended perches or platforms that allow woodpeckers to rest their tails while feeding.

The tail rest feature offers stability and support, enabling woodpeckers to comfortably cling onto the feeder for extended periods. This design element is especially beneficial for larger woodpecker species that require additional support while feeding.

In conclusion, understanding woodpecker behavior, legal considerations, deterrent methods, predators, and attracting woodpeckers away from houses allows for a harmonious coexistence with these fascinating birds. By implementing respectful and humane strategies, homeowners can mitigate conflicts and appreciate the beauty and ecological importance of woodpeckers in their surroundings.

About the author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest posts