Why are woodpeckers attracted to my house?

Answered by Antonio Sutton

Woodpeckers can be attracted to houses for several reasons, and understanding these factors can help you find ways to deter them if necessary. Here are some possible explanations for why woodpeckers may be attracted to your house:

1. Drumming surfaces: Woodpeckers use drumming as a form of communication and territorial display. They create loud, repetitive drumming sounds by pecking on resonant surfaces like trees. However, human-made structures such as windows, tin roofs, eaves, or aluminum siding can provide excellent amplification, making them attractive to woodpeckers seeking to communicate or establish their territory.

2. Food sources: Woodpeckers are primarily insectivorous and rely on insects for their diet. Your house may be attracting woodpeckers if it has a high population of wood-boring insects, such as carpenter ants or wood-boring beetles. These insects often infest wooden structures, and the sound of woodpeckers drumming on your house could indicate their search for a meal.

3. Nesting sites: Woodpeckers also seek suitable nesting sites, and certain features of your house may make it attractive for nesting. Woodpeckers typically excavate nest cavities in trees, but they may also choose to nest in the eaves, siding, or other crevices of houses. If your house has wood siding or other materials that resemble natural nest sites, it could be appealing to woodpeckers looking for a safe place to raise their young.

4. Reflections: Another reason woodpeckers may be attracted to your house is reflections. Some woodpeckers, particularly the Northern Flicker, are known to peck at windows or other reflective surfaces because they mistake their own reflection for a rival bird. This behavior is commonly observed during the breeding season when woodpeckers are more territorial. The repeated pecking on windows can be both frustrating for homeowners and dangerous for the birds themselves.

To address the issue of woodpeckers being attracted to your house, consider the following measures:

1. Visual deterrents: Installing visual deterrents can help deter woodpeckers from your house. Options include hanging reflective objects (like CDs or aluminum foil strips) near problematic areas, using scare balloons or predator decoys, or placing netting or wire mesh over potential nesting sites.

2. Acoustic deterrents: Playing recorded woodpecker distress calls or predator sounds can discourage woodpeckers from approaching your house. However, keep in mind that these methods may not be effective for all woodpecker species.

3. Remove food sources: If your house has an infestation of wood-boring insects, consider hiring a professional to treat and eliminate the problem. By removing the insects, you remove a potential food source for woodpeckers.

4. Window solutions: To prevent woodpeckers from pecking at windows, you can apply window decals or non-reflective films that break up reflections. Closing curtains or blinds may also help reduce reflection and deter woodpeckers.

It’s important to note that woodpeckers are protected by law in many countries, so it is generally illegal to harm or kill them. Instead, focus on deterring them using non-lethal methods. If the woodpecker activity becomes persistent or destructive, you may consider contacting a wildlife professional for further assistance.

Woodpeckers may be attracted to your house due to the drumming surfaces it offers, the presence of wood-boring insects, the availability of suitable nesting sites, or reflections that they mistake for rivals. Understanding these factors can help you employ effective deterrent strategies while respecting the legal protection of these birds.