Getting rid of woodpeckers isn’t easy, because you have to combine an effective method with a concern for keeping the woodpecker alive and healthy. Some people who are consistently bothered by birds use products that are smeared on tree limbs and other landing surfaces.
These can prevent the bird from landing but the chemicals and stickiness can cause real problems for the feathered visitor. People have also tried similar substances that contained poisons in the past. This isn’t a viable option because we really don’t want to kill the woodpecker.
Woodpeckers and many other birds are protected by law. If local authorities find out that you have killed a woodpecker you may have to pay a significant fine. With this in mind, it is essential that you get rid of woodpeckers safely and in the correct way.
Woodpeckers may be attracted to your home or property because of a particular insect that provides the bulk of their meals. Insects such as certain types of bees or ants might be the real source of your difficulties with woodpeckers. You’ll need to address these insect pests first.
If your woodpecker visitors are causing physical damage to your home or to other wood structures on your property, you may be able to draw their attention away from those areas with a suet feeder. You may have the most success by putting the feeder close to the area the birds are damaging then gradually moving it as they birds use it.
Woodpeckers may be frightened away by a silhouette of a large predator such as a falcon, hawk or eagle. Birds may be smart enough to get used to this faker so you might have to change the item occasionally. Woodpeckers might also be discouraged by aluminum foil strips attached to the eaves of the home or aluminum foil pans used in the same way a gardener uses them to frighten birds away.
One of the next steps you might take is to introduce sound to your property. Several vendors offer a speaker system that senses motion and emits sounds that will scare the woodpecker off. Sometimes these methods have little effect or fail to work after a period of time. You may have to take more drastic measures.
You can attack the woodpeckers in person with a powerful squirt gun. One of those large super-shooters will probably give woodpeckers notice that they aren’t welcome. Hopefully they will get the idea and fly away to inflict damage on some dead tree far away.
You might also try scaring the woodpeckers with a brightly colored kite, a wind sock like the one they use at the airport or a balloon that shows the birds an image of a predator. We mentioned aluminum pie pans earlier and all of these ideas work in a similar way. It is important to try these methods close to the spots the woodpeckers are damaging with their drilling. Finally, try covering the damaged areas with plastic or a metal/mesh material.