Got Woodpeckers? Here’s How to Get Rid of Them

You can get rid of woodpeckers by moving their food source, sealing up old woodpecker holes, hanging shiny and moving objects, or making loud noises.
Written by Annette Maxon
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
You can get rid of woodpeckers by moving their food source, closing off any woodpecker holes, hanging shiny and moving objects, or using sound repellents. 
If you’re a nature lover or find nothing better than relaxing in your backyard, then you likely have a love-hate relationship with woodpeckers. Many people find these birds beautiful, but their well-known pecking sound can be enough to drive some people crazy. What’s more, they can cause damage to any wood materials on your house or in your yard. 
Whether you love or can’t stand these industrious birds, they are endangered and federally protected by the
Endangered Species Act of 1973
. This means that you legally cannot use poison or other harmful methods to deal with them, no matter how irritating they may be. 
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Four easy ways to get rid of woodpeckers

Fortunately, it is fairly easy to rid your yard of woodpeckers. Before getting started, it’s important to remember that poisons or any method that may harm the woodpecker are illegal.
Stick to the suggestions below to safely get rid of these woodland birds.

Move or eliminate their food source

If the birds are pecking at your house, there’s a high chance that they’re after insects. Before trying other methods, it’s a good idea to check for and remove any insects from your house to discourage the woodpeckers.
Another option is to give the woodpeckers an alternative food source away from your house. Pick up some woodpecker food at a hardware or gardening store. Add the food to a bird feeder that is strategically placed far away in the yard.

Use aluminum foil or other shiny materials to scare the birds away

Shiny or colorful moving objects will scare woodpeckers away. Try hanging aluminum foil anywhere you frequently see woodpeckers outside. If aluminum foil isn’t your jam, other possible deterrents range from colorful flags and wind chimes to bells, pinwheels, hanging CDs, or strips of brightly-colored paper. 

Repair any holes in your home or wooden structures

The holes that woodpeckers made in your house will encourage insects to come and go—and the woodpeckers will likely return to the exact spots again
If you’ve found woodpecker holes in your house, try filling them with caulk. Once the caulk has dried, apply oil-based paint to seal off the hole. Once you’ve done this, there’s no need to worry about woodpeckers returning to this spot—the woodpeckers won’t make any sound when trying to drill into the caulk. This will discourage them from drilling there and drive them away. 

Use a sound repeller

Head to your local hardware store or look online for a woodpecker sound repellent. These machines simply mimic the sounds of other woodpeckers (specifically ones that are in distress). Other repellent sounds mimic common woodpecker predators like hawks. 
Make sure the one you buy is specific to woodpeckers. If it’s geared toward another bird, it will drive that species away from the area instead. 
Or, if you’re on a budget, just go outside and clap your hands, whoop, bang some pots together, or make another loud noise to scare off these pesky birds. However, this does require you to keep an eye on your yard for when they show up.

Signs of woodpecker damage

If you spot a series of small, deeply-drilled holes in a line, then you likely have woodpeckers damaging the wood. There will usually be a lot of holes in a horizontal or vertical line. Sometimes, you may spot a larger nesting hole as well.
Additionally (and unsurprisingly), you’ll know that woodpeckers are your problem if you hear frequent pecking sounds

How to keep woodpeckers from coming back

The best way to keep woodpeckers from coming back has nothing to do with the birds at all! Rather, it involves tackling any insect problems in your home. 
When woodpeckers start to drill into your house, that’s a telltale sign you likely have an infestation—you’ll want to deal with that first and foremost to eliminate the woodpeckers’ source of temptation.  
Some insect problems are easier to deal with than others. But for more serious infestations such as termites, it’s a good idea to call in the pros to help you get rid of them once and for all. 
Once the insects are taken care of, your next step is to repair any holes made by woodpeckers. Use caulk to fill the holes and seal the opening with oil-based paint once the caulk has dried.
Finally, if you notice the woodpeckers targeting a specific spot, try covering the area with bird netting to keep any future winged visitors away. 

Does home insurance cover woodpecker damage? 

No, especially since woodpecker damage is considered preventable (along with mouse, termite, and other pest damage). 
Even if it doesn’t cover small animal damage, home insurance is a must-have to protect your home from a variety of emergencies.

Find affordable home insurance without the hassle

Between home repairs, kids’ activities, and taking time for yourself, finding the time to review insurance quotes can seem impossible (not to mention dreadfully boring). 
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Generally, you can fix woodpecker damage by filling the holes with durable caulk. Once the caulk has dried, sand the area to create a smooth surface, and seal off the hole using oil-based paint that matches the color of your house.
Since woodpecker damage is often a telltale sign of an insect infestation, it’s a good idea to deal with any insects yourself or call a professional exterminator.
You can find woodpeckers searching and drilling for food from sunrise through the whole day. As soon as it’s dark, the woodpeckers go to sleep and you won’t find them out and about.
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