One of our Newton Falls Public Library patrons was being pestered by a woodpecker, and was hoping to chase it away before it caused damage to their barn. Fortunately, there are several methods they can try.
According to the Audubon Society [http://birds.audubon.org/faq/why-woodpecker-damaging-my-house-and-how-do-i-stop-it], woodpeckers peck for three reasons: to mark territory, to search for insects, and to make a hole in which to nest. If it looks like the bird is making a hole big enough to go into, Audubon suggests covering the hole with netting or metal flashing, though that may not be enough to deter a woodpecker looking to make your house its home. If it persists, the best solution may be to install a nest box near the hole in the hopes that the bird will stop pecking and choose to nest there instead.
If the woodpecker doesn’t look like it’s drilling out a place to roost, then it might be looking for food. It’s important to make sure there aren’t any insects in the wood, such as carpenter bees or termites, that the bird might be noshing on. Otherwise, placing suet nearby may be enough to distract it.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology [http://www.birds.cornell.edu/wp_about/control.html] suggests attaching netting to the building, keeping at least three inches between the building and the net to keep birds from getting through.
Plastic owls may scare woodpeckers off for a few days, but the birds quickly get used to them. Instead, try auditory deterrents, such as playing the sound of a predator or a woodpecker in distress, or hanging wind chimes. Reflective strips, pie pans, streamers, wind socks, and flags can also be hung to scare away birds.
For more information on woodpeckers, Paul Bannick’s The Owl and the Woodpecker: Encounters with North America’s Most Iconic Birds is available through CLEVNET. If our patron is interested in identifying exactly what kind of woodpecker is drumming on their barn – or for anyone who’d like to identify the birds near their house – James S. McCormac and Gregory Kennedy’s Birds of Ohio is available for checkout here at the Newton Falls Public Library.
For answers to your questions, visit the Newton Falls Public Library, 204 S. Canal Street, Newton Falls or phone 330-872-1282. For information about all the free library programs or hours, visit our website at www.newtonfalls.org or our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/NewtonFallsLibrary.