Press 1 if Woodpeckers are Pecking on your House….
Jerry and the Audubon Shop Crew often joke that during the bird-centric season of spring we should have 2 options on our answering system:
“Press 1 if a woodpecker is banging on your house and waking you up in the morning”
“Press 2 if a (insert Cardinal, Robin, Mockingbird, Bluebird) is pecking on your window or car side mirror and is about to knock itself out”
We hear you!!! And we have some easy, inexpensive and tried and true solutions to bring harmony, peace and quiet back to your domain.
The lengthening of daylight hours starts to become noticeable in mid to late January here in CT. A few minutes more of sunlight every evening cheers us up. In the natural world, things begin stirring as well. The extra daylight signals to animals and birds that nesting time is near. Some even start this in the fall in anticipation of spring (think of rutting season for deer). Stepping outside on a warm March, April or May morning will reveal that we’ve left winter’s relative peace and quiet behind and have entered a new phase – Dawn Song.
Here in the northern latitudes that only happens once a year, so a lot of energy is put into setting up a territory, attracting a mate and getting ready to produce offspring – a major driving force of nature. “How can I ensure the survival of my species?” No matter where you live in the U.S., when spring comes, the birds start singing, moving and “acting up”.
Male woodpeckers have a particular territorial signal that they start in spring – it’s called drumming. Each species has its own cadence of drumbeats, and if you listen carefully, you can learn who’s making each sound. (That’s just who we are – we WANT to know 😉
Downy, Hairy, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, Red-bellied, Yellow-shafted Flicker and Pileated are the more commonly occurring woodpeckers in CT. There are others further north, south and west of us.
We like to tell people that “your house makes a good sounding board”. Woodpeckers find a spot that sounds good and LOUD; a hollow tree – as well as wood shingles, trim, vinyl or plastic boarding, and they test it out for sound.
Drumming tells other woodpeckers “I am here, this is my territory”, and it also serves to attract females.
Woodpeckers also need to prepare a cavity for the ultimate goal of having a successful brood. Sometimes a shingle on your house sounds like a hollow tree – they can hear this. Pecking in one spot will reveal a hole – eureka!
**Solution for Pecking on Houses:
Hanging 2-3’ lengths of Holographic Scare Tape (a shiny 1” wide ribbon) over the spot where holes appear will do the trick! The wind will gently blow these lengths of ribbon and deter the birds. This may involve a ladder – be careful. Or, have a handyman fix those holes and hang the shiny plastic ribbon…
- Our Holographic Scare Tape is a great, inexpensive solution.
This leads us to – Pecking on windows and side mirrors; what gives?
Along with making his presence know, male birds have a strong desire to defend their territory. This means chasing out any males that may come near. Every notice your own reflection in the exterior of a window? This is why some birds peck away at the reflection.
**Solution for Pecking on Windows:
Anything you do must reduce that reflection on the outside of your window. Putting stickers or closing drapes on the inside will do nothing, the reflection is still there.
- If you have a screen for the window, put it in!
- Holographic Scare Tape, cut into strips and taped onto windows (just for a few weeks) will help.
- Stop Bird Attack will also work very well. Sprays on, washes off!
- If you’re a DIY type of person, soaping (making un-shiny) the outside of the lower half of the window will also work.
- As for side mirrors of cars – parking in a slightly different location will generally do the trick. Otherwise, simply wrapping an old tee shirt or piece of cloth around the mirrors will physically block them. Simply remove before driving off.