How to Prevent a Woodpecker From Destroying the House


Have you heard a persistent tapping sound that seems to be coming from the side of your house? If so, you probably have a woodpecker. These birds use their beaks to hammer on wooden shingles or siding, light poles or even plastic and metal gutters because of the loud sounds these materials make. Woodpeckers may do this to notify other birds of their territory, to attract mates or to look for insects in the wood. Whatever the reason, a woodpecker’s hammering can damage your house. But there are some easy ways to discourage this destructive behavior.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal flashing
  • Paint
  • Wire
  • Fishing line
  • Insecticide
  • Sticky bird repellent
  • Mesh or plastic netting
  • Mirrors
  • Cardboard
  • Toy pinwheels (optional)
  • Pie pans (optional)
  • Toy cap guns
  • Metal trash can lids
  • Wood
  • Repair any holes the woodpecker has already made by covering them with metal flashing and then painting the metal to match your siding. This is important because if left alone, the holes will attract more woodpeckers.

  • Eliminate places where a woodpecker might perch. For example, if the woodpecker seems to be landing on a particular board, stretch wire or fishing line across it, extending out about two inches.

  • Treat your siding. If a woodpecker is drumming through your siding to eat insects in the wood, try using insecticide. Once the insects are gone, the woodpecker should have no reason to return. Alternately, you can apply sticky bird repellents to your siding to discourage a woodpecker from landing on your house. Birds dislike the feel of the sticky substance on their feet.

  • Fasten mesh or plastic netting under the eaves. You can choose to either angle it straight back to the siding and secure it or stretch the netting along the length of the house, about three inches from the siding, and secure it close to the ground. Spacing the netting away from the house will keep the bird from being able to peck the house through the netting.

  • Hang mirrors or hawk mobiles under your eaves to frighten away the woodpecker. To make hawk mobiles, simply cut some silhouettes of hawks in flight out of cardboard and paint them black or another dark color. Use fishing line to hang them near the woodpecker’s favorite spots. Toy pinwheels or pie pans might also work.

  • Make noise. Some woodpeckers can be frightened away by the consistent use of items that emit loud noises, such as toy cap guns or metal trash can lids, whenever the birds are spotted.

  • Build simple nest boxes out of wood. If the woodpecker seems to be making a cavity in which to build a nest, providing it with an alternative nesting spot might work.

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  • Photo Credit red-bellied woodpecker image by Pix by Marti from
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