Naughty bird

Of course I love watching birds in the backyard, but I don’t especially love what some of them do to my house. The woodpeckers are at it again, drilling holes into the redwood siding of the house and the garage. The little Downys do a lot of damage by themselves, but this morning the local Pileated Woodpecker got into the action, and started hammering on the garage with some serious blows.

Incoming male Pileated Woodpecker. There has always been a resident pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in the far backyard, and they are frequent winter visitors near the house to check out the bird feeders.
He looks around, doesn’t see what he wants at the bird feeders, and moves on to the garage. The male has a red mustache (this bird), while the female’s is black.
The little holes in the siding were made by the Downy Woodpeckers, but the much bigger chisel bill of the Pileated could make short work of tearing out huge chunks of the siding. So, I had to chase him off.

13 thoughts on “Naughty bird

  1. My very first birding instructor was Lyle Bradley. I remember him telling us that wood peckers only peck on wooden decks, garages etc when they know there are bugs, etc (food) behind some deteriorating wood. Just saying.

    • Good point — but they are redwood planks, so they are supposed to be resistant to insect infestations, and they do have a couple of layers of paint on them. In fact, the Downy Woodpeckers started pecking on the new(ish) redwood just after they were freshly painted. Thanks for your comment, though!

    • I’ve never been able to figure out what they drill on the redwood siding — does it look that much like a tree? The little Downy woodpeckers might be after spiders or other bugs in the corners of the buildings, but they wouldn’t need to drill holes for those. It’s a mystery! I’m sure the big Pileated is attracted to the holes that other birds have drilled and figures there just be something good there….?

  2. We had this problem with a downy many years ago, but this is like a full sized excavator compared to a hand shovel when it comes to making holes!

    It wouldn’t be pretty, but perhaps try putting a thin sheet of metal over the spot. If you do, I think if it were me I’d bend it around the corner, then attach it loosely with 4 screws, one in each corner. Reason for loosely is so water can drain behind it, the wood can dry out, and then it won’t rot. Remove and paint when it warms up too.

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Ed. I think we will nail up some temporary wood covers on the worst of the siding for the winter, and then do a proper repair job next spring/summer. Maybe fresh paint will deter them…?

      • Be prepared. They are persistent. Our former neighbor had one on the chimney sideboard, just opposite our bedroom window. ( (I was thinking heavy weaponry.) Easily getting thru the half inch wood he/she made it home. The neighbor called in handy-ladders, and plugged it! The woodpecker was back at it when we “coincidentally” decided to move. I suggest heavy metal (not just the music), or maybe a high-frequency (silent) siren, which worked for my bats. Altho that’s different, bird vs mammal. Still it’s humane.

  3. Our current woodpecker gang consists of three hairys, one red-bellied, and two large pileateds. They seem to loosely flock together. We’ve had a problem with them pecking holes in the corners, and have tried different things to deter them. Hanging shiny reflective tape on the corners, spraying the corners with vinegar, sweeping under eves to keep bugs off so they don’t find food here, even painting our home a different color (we were told they liked our old brown house color, so we changed to a light gray)… They aren’t deterred. LOL. Nature wins.

    • You got that right! Glad to hear I’m not the only one with woodpecker problems, but sorry to hear you didn’t find the solution. Thanks for your comment.

  4. The surest way to get rid of these is with a rat trap set at the pecking area. If the trap misses, the woodpecker usually gets the hint and does not come back, at least for a long time. Now, if there was some way to do this humanly.

    • I tried hanging a CD (that flapped in the wind) over the holes during the summer, but the birds got used to their movement, and just pecked around the disks. No luck scaring them off.

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