Woodpeckers are not just birds; they can also be house pests. These birds are known for their unique ways of hunting food and building shelters, mainly because their technique leaves unsightly traces of holes in many types of wood—including cedar siding.
Why do Woodpeckers like to Peck on Cedar Siding?
As the name suggests, woodpeckers are small, winged animals known for their pecking habits. While they bite on several types of wood, they are particularly attracted to cedar and redwood.
But the thing is, woodpeckers do not peck on wood for no reason. This act is simply their means of surviving. In other words, they do it for food, shelter, storage, and reproduction.
Here’s a brief explanation why:
- Food. Probably one of the main reasons woodpeckers drill in wood is to find food. Insects such as larvae and leafcutter bees are often found hiding inside wood.
- For building a nest. Woodpeckers use their pecking ability to create small to large holes to build a nest, particularly during their breeding season. The holes they create also mark and claim the area as the woodpecker’s territory.
- So, if you find these birds tapping holes into your siding, there is a high chance that the exterior of your home is infested with insects.
- To store food. These small birds also create large holes in wood as a means to store their food.
- To attract mates. Woodpeckers also peck on wood to attract mates. The loud sounds the bird makes as it pecks on wood apparently attracts woodpeckers of the opposite sex.
Is the Damage Repairable?
While repeatedly fixing your siding is a costly, laborious task, damages made by woodpeckers can, fortunately, be fixed. The typical method of fixing the damage requires patching up the holes.
You can cover the holes in three different ways:
- Place a mesh or hardwired cloth over the damaged area, preferably a quarter-inch thick.
- Install a metal sheath or aluminum flashing over the damaged area.
- Replace your wooden siding with steel, aluminum, or vinyl.
How to Get Rid of Woodpeckers
Now that you know the reasons behind woodpecker cedar siding damage, the only obvious solution to this rather frustrating problem is to either replace your house’s exterior with a woodpecker-resistant siding or install a device that would shoo the birds away. Finding a way to deter the birds is certainly the more cost-effective method.
If you are not sure how to shoo the birds away, below are a few of the common, tried-and-true methods that homeowners are using.
Method 1: Scare Them Away Visually
The most recommended, simplest, and most affordable method to get rid of woodpeckers is to use visual deterrents. While these small birds fear anything that moves, they are especially fearful of objects that are reflective and shiny.
This means that you can use common household items like CDs, small mirrors, and aluminum tin cans as deterrents. These items are widely used, and many swear by their effectiveness.
While affordable, if you do not want household items in your front yard you can also purchase reflective woodpecker repellents such as bird repellent tape, repellent discs, and bird repellent balloons.
These items are extremely reflective and can be incredibly fashionable. Hence, the solution to your woodpecker problem would look like a house decoration rather than a homemade pest repellent.
Method 2: Try Woodpecker Netting or Spikes
Another way to prevent woodpeckers from drilling holes into your siding is by using woodpecker spikes or netting. But keep in mind that this should be your last option, as netting and spikes require you to trap the birds and could potentially hurt them.
Despite the obvious drawback of potentially harming the bird, however, this is a very efficient solution. The net essentially creates a barrier which prevents woodpeckers from entering the area where the net is placed. All you need to do is simply place the net on the surface you want to protect, or hang it about a foot away from the area.
Method 3: Build a Woodpecker House
Woodpeckers drill holes onto wood siding not only to find food but also to build a nest. And if you think it is the reason for your woodpecker problem, you may want to build them a birdhouse instead of utilizing the above options.
Providing a birdhouse is certainly the more humane and compassionate method of dealing with woodpeckers than netting and spikes. However, do keep in mind that they would eventually look elsewhere for food and there is a high chance that they will, once again, target your cedar siding. Further, building a birdhouse could also attract other woodpeckers, only compounding your problem.
Method 4: Use Sounds
Woodpeckers are not only scared of moving and shiny items; they also are wary of loud sounds. So, if you prefer a discreet way to get rid of these birds, I suggest using an electronic woodpecker repellent.
The device produces distress calls that terrify and shoo woodpeckers away. Depending on the device, you can choose how long the distress call will last. Many find this method to be an effective solution. The only drawback is that such devices are pricey.
Are there Woodpecker-resistant Sidings?
While installing a new siding that is woodpecker-resistant is costly, laborious, and time-consuming, replacing your cedar siding has long-term benefits. Thus, if you plan to take this route, here are the types of siding which woodpeckers will not drill holes into.
- Hardie Board Siding. One of America’s most popular cement board sidings, James Hardie siding is a perfect alternative solution for woodpeckers. It is made of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers.
And since it is made of cement, woodpeckers will not bother drilling holes into it.
- Stone Siding. Another perfect woodpecker-resistant siding is stone. Although you will shell out a large amount of money, the benefits of this investment are remarkable and long-lasting. Woodpeckers will not bother pecking into stone siding either since, just like the Hardie board siding, it is not made of wood.
- Bricks. Last but not least are bricks. While brick might not be the most popular house exterior you will find these days, it will certainly help you avoid unwanted woodpecking attention, unlike wooden and vinyl sidings. The only drawback to brick is that installing a new brick exterior is pricey.
Woodpeckers on Cedar Siding
While cedar and other types of wood siding are aesthetically pleasing as a house exterior, these types of material are particularly vulnerable to many kinds of infestation, such as woodpeckers, that could, unfortunately, leave you spending money all of the time.
The damage woodpeckers leave, for example, is typically costly to repair. And while there are ways to get rid of these small, winged animals, as detailed above, the best long-term solution is to opt for woodpecker-resistant siding, especially if your home is located in an area where a lot of these unique birds roam.