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All About Woodpecker Damage Repair and Prevention

General contractor Tom Silva shows host Kevin O’Connor how to identify, repair, and prevent woodpecker damage around the home.

Tom Silva teaches Kevin O’Connor all about woodpecker damage. After explaining the different types of holes that woodpeckers make (and why they make them), Tom goes through his best tips for repairing existing damage. Tom even explains some convention (and not-so-conventional) options for keeping woodpeckers at bay.

Types of Woodpecker Damage

Woodpeckers can do lots of damage, and it’s helpful to be able to identify the type of damage. Large holes bored into the sides of the home are typically for nesting, so if the hole seems large enough for a bird, there’s a good chance they’re trying to make your home their home.

Small conical holes are actually used during mating seasons to attract mates. Small holes that aren’t necessarily conical are more likely a result of the woodpecker looking for food, which could indicate that there is a pest issue behind the wall.

How to Fix Woodpecker Damage

There are several ways to handle woodpecker damage, but note that it’s important to look behind the damaged area for insects that may have attracted the woodpecker in the first place.

For large holes, removal and replacement is the best option. When replacing the siding on a home, it’s a good idea to save some of the shingles or clapboards. This way, if anything gets damaged, it’s possible to remove and replace the siding with the same materials. The same applies to large holes in soffits or corner boards.

For smaller holes, it may be possible to patch the holes with wood putty or an epoxy. Simply patch the holes, sand them flush, and paint the repair area.

Another option is to cover the damaged area with metal flashing and then paint it to match the home. This will effectively cover the damage, but bending flashing neatly can be difficult.

How To Prevent Woodpecker Damage

Woodpecker damage is preventable with the right steps. Shiny, moving objects like streamers and yard whirligigs placed in areas prone to woodpecker action work well to scare them off. Also, CDs placed on monofilament fishing line and left to dangle in the wind are an effective deterrent to keep them away.

One of the best options is to get a fake owl and place it in the area. Keep in mind that birds will get used to things in their environment, so it’s important to move the owl around the area frequently to prevent the woodpecker from foiling your plan.


Resources

Tom explains how to identify woodpecker damage, what repair options there are, and how to prevent it.

Tom first explains the reasons woodpeckers may drum into your home could be for their March-May mating season or also because they are feeding on insects. He explains that similar clusters of cone-shaped holes are more likely for mating while irregular small holes are probably for feeding.

Tom explains damage can be anywhere on the exterior of the home but a few repair options include replacing cedar shingles, making a dutchman repair to siding or corner boards, the old painter's method of nailing aluminum siding over holes, and using wood filler for smaller holes.

There are many options to deter woodpeckers. It’s important to remember that woodpeckers are federally protected birds, so all deterrents must be humane. Tom mentions the importance of highly reflective materials and materials with sudden, unpredictable movements.

Examples include mylar balloons, reflective streamers, CDs, reflective tape, or pinwheels. Tom notes that decoy predators can work as a deterrent but it is important to move them regularly around the property so that the woodpeckers do not become desensitized to them.