Keep Woodpeckers Off Your House
Generally, woodpeckers peck at houses for one of three reasons – to attract a mate or proclaim territory, to seek food (insects in the wood), or to try to create a nest in the side of a building. Try the following options.
Scaring woodpeckers may be successful if started promptly. Scaring the woodpeckers from the house or area relies upon the bird's response to danger or unpleasant experiences. Spray the woodpecker with water from a garden or high-pressure water hose.
Light pie plates and metal can lids can be suspended on a string. One end of the string can be near a convenient window or door where the line can be jerked whenever the bird appears.
Attach string to the ends of aluminum foil strips cut two to three inches in width and two to three feet in length and hang from damaged or tapping sites.
Pinwheels with reflective vanes may be attached at tapping or damaged sites. These must rotate in order to be a deterrent.
Models or silhouettes of snakes, owls or hawks may be the least effective unless they are hung to move in the breeze and/or in conjunction with playing recorded calls of birds of prey.
Cover the site with plastic or nylon netting or hardware cloth. Permanent installation of hardware cloth or other screening may be the best solution when woodpeckers make repeated attempts over several years to make holes or nests.
Metallic or wooded surfaces used for drumming may be wrapped or covered with cloth or foam. An alternative tapping site or surface such as a wooden box or metal cylinder hung in a less annoying location may be considered.
Placing a woodpecker house over the area if the bird is interested in nesting may encourage the bird to stop creating another hole.
House Sparrows (Male is pictured to the right) can sometimes take over a seed, suet, or mealworm feeder.
Seed - Try feeding a seed with less millet and cracked corn. This is less appealing to them.
Suet - With suet feeders try using an upside down style suet feeder if targeting woodpeckers, nuthatches, and wrens. Some suet cylinder style feeders don't have perches which would make it more difficult for House Sparrows to access the suet.
Mealworms - Many mealworm feeders are open access meaning any bird (Bluebird, Oriole, Jay, Kestrel, Mockingbird, Thrasher, Phoebe, Towhee, etc.) can access them.
Timing - One can put the mealworms out only at certain times such as early in the morning or later in the after noon.
Mesh over feeder -Depending on who you are trying to feed (Orioles as an example) you can add a mesh over the mealworm feeder so only birds with long slender bills (Orioles) can still access the worms while birds with short thick bills (Sparrows) have a difficult time accessing the worms. Adjust as needed on the height of the mesh. This may not work with bluebirds or phoebes.
Singing at Night - Mockingbirds are well known to sing at night, especially during periods of the Full Moon when it is bright out or during the Spring and Summer during breeding season. While one can't stop one from singing in their yard one can discourage them for setting up residence near a window by adding streamers,
Feeder by Nest- Mockingbirds can become fiercely territorial if their nest is close to any bird feeder. If this is the case move the bird feeder away from their nest.
Offer them some- Mockingbirds will eat suet, mealworms, fruits, and smaller nut pieces on occasion. You can always offer them their own feeder
Mealworms - Mockingbirds will become territorial over live mealworms and will chase away all other birds.
Cage over Feeder - Mealworms can be offtered in a cage style feeder that has 2 inch opening or less. This works well with Orioles and Bluebirds as long as they are comfortable with the cage. Phoebes may have issues getting through the opening, not because they can't fit but because they are uncomfortable doing so.
Doves & Pigeons like seed blends heavy in millet and cracked corn. Try feeding blends light with these grains.
Remove Trays - If your feeders have a tray attached you can temporarily remove the trays making it harder for the doves or pigeons to gain a foothold. Some Hopper style have a pigeon guard option that makes it difficult for doves and pigeons to eat comfortably.
Avoid Tray feeders and ground feeding - Tray feeders are open access and let any bird access the food. Try feeding in a tube style feeder.
Cage Around Feeder Some styles of feeders are compatible with cages where a cage can be placed over the feeder with small enough holes that allow smaller birds access (finches) not larger birds (doves, pigeons, jays, etc)
Window Collisions occur because the bird cannot differentiate a reflection from actual landscape and collide with the reflective surface. Hawks and Crows can occasionally use windows to assist in catching prey
Window Decals - Adding window decals breaks up the reflection so the bird would adjust their flight to avoid hitting the window
Break up Reflection - Move plants or decorations around to break up the reflection
Add Netting - Add netting or screen to the outside of the window to break up the reflection
Move Feeders - Move feeders further away from the window
Birds Attacking Windows
Why is a bird attacking my window?
Birds like House Finches, Towhees and Mockingbirds will dash repeatedly at their reflections in windows. Such actions are usually because the individual bird, usually a male, mistakenly perceives another bird in the reflection. It is territorial behavior for the bird to fight off the intruder. This behavior, if continued over a period of weeks or even an entire season, can be annoying to people, but is usually not fatal to the bird.
There are two ways to help prevent this behavior...one is to eliminate the reflective qualities of the glass window so it does not act as a mirror, the other is to create a physical barrier between the bird and the window.
A light colored or white material placed against the inside of the glass may help to reduce the reflection enough to stop the attacks. This can be newspaper, a sheet, a white window cleaner or other material. Interior vertical blinds (that are light in color) with the slats half open or closed may help. A dark room or dark drapes will actually increase the reflection and encourage more attacks. You may also apply things to outside of the glass like an opaque window decal, plastic sheet like a grocery bag or soap the window.
If all else fails, you may need to cover the outside of the window with a thin netting to prevent the bird from actually reaching the window. One of the advantages of the netting is that it allows you to still see out the window.