How to get rid of problem woodpeckers in New Jersey | Woodpecker

How to get rid of problem woodpeckers

Woodpeckers naturally roost, nest, and find food in both living and dead trees. Light poles, barns, or houses just seem like dead trees to them. Houses and buildings with wood exteriors have the highest likelihood of being damaged by woodpeckers. However, they also can damage homes made of stucco or similar material. Woodpeckers damage buildings by drumming and drilling. Both are territorial behaviors and may occur in fall and spring. Woodpeckers can damage buildings in search of insects.

Remove attractants, including bird feeders, suet, and dead trees.

Repair damage promptly. Cover or plug holes immediately and repair them once damage has stopped.

Frighten woodpeckers off using bright, shiny objects that move and reflect light (e.g., Bird Scare Flash Tape, Bird Flasher, Scare Eyes, Octopus Bird Scarer, etc.). Suspend the reflective material near damaged areas. Adding loud noise, such as an air horn, board clapping, or electronic bird alarm emitting species-specific distress calls may increase effectiveness. Note: many birds will quickly learn to ignore alarm devices over time when no threat is detected. Other visual scare tactics that are sound- or motion-activated may help frighten the birds away.

Lightweight bird netting can be one of the most effective methods of keeping woodpeckers from damaging wooden structures. Place netting over the area that is attracting them. Leave at least three inches of space between the netting and the building surface so that birds cannot reach the building through the mesh. Be sure to secure the netting so that the birds can’t get behind it. Net all affected areas in this manner. Repair and paint or treat all damage quickly.

Metal or plastic sheathing can be placed over or on the damaged areas to prevent additional damage. Sheathing can be disguised with paint or simulated wood grain to match the siding and make it more aesthetically pleasing. Once woodpecker activity is curtailed, repair the damaged sites quickly.

Sticky repellents are not recommended as they can get on a bird’s plumage, impairing its ability to fly and stay warm. Moreover, they can darken and stain wood siding and cause dirt to stick to the surface where applied.

Efforts to disperse woodpeckers should be initiated at the first sign of damage and repeated when necessary to frighten and condition birds to avoid the area.

Laws and regulations to be aware of

Federal regulations

Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act makes it illegal for anyone to take, possess, import, export, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer for sale, purchase, or barter, any migratory bird, or the parts, nests, or eggs of such a bird except under the terms of a valid permit issued pursuant to federal regulations.

Migratory birds may seek respite within trees or on buildings considered private property. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 prohibits the removal of all listed species or their parts (feathers, eggs, nests, etc.) from such property.

More information

While we attempt to provide guidance about state and federal regulations pertaining to specific species and control techniques, we do not provide information about local jurisdictions (city, town, county, etc.) where regulations may be more restrictive, especially as it applies to discharge of firearms, transport of animals or use of trapping equipment. Contact your local city or county government to inquire further. No guarantee is made that information (or lack of information) associated with a species or control technique is completely accurate or current. You should become familiar with federal, state and local laws before beginning any wildlife control activities.

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