- Author: Karey Windbiel-Rojas
Woodpeckers are well known, colorful birds often found in wooded neighborhoods and forested areas. While they are wild creatures many people appreciate, they can become a pest problem when they damage buildings in search of food and nest building materials, or a nuisance pest with their rhythmic drumming.
Both male and female woodpeckers drum with their beaks to proclaim their breeding behavior and social dominance. Their pecking can cause structural damage, leaving gaps and holes in wood as they search for insects. Acorn woodpeckers create or find holes in buildings, fence posts, and utility poles to store acorns. Woodpeckers can also damage trees when they remove the bark to access the insects hiding underneath.
But even if woodpeckers cause problems, they are protected under the Migratory Bird Act. This means they can only be controlled in ways that do not harm the bird or its active nest. Physical exclusion is the most effective technique.
For more information, see the newly revised publication Pest Notes: Woodpeckers by Carolyn A. Whitesell, UC Cooperative Extension Human-Wildlife Interactions Advisor for San Mateo and San Francisco Counties. This free publication details woodpecker control methods including helpful identification tools.
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