Got Woodpecker Damage? Here’s some facts about Woodpeckers!

We get a lot of calls about woodpeckers this time of year. We see damage mainly from the Northern Flicker, but also from both Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers here in Colorado and a few less common species as well. There’s three main reasons woodpeckers damage homes. The first and most common is a behavior called “drumming”. This is damage that the male causes simply by making lots of noise to attract the female. They may also “drum” on metal objects to get that female really going! The second reason is to create a nesting cavity. The third (and least common) is to get insects found in wood as food sources.

Damage can be costly and difficult to repair properly. One key to prevention of further damage is to repair damage as soon as possible. Woodpeckers see the damage and this stimulates them to continue doing damage. Other woodpeckers then see this as a possible nesting cavity and they will be attracted to the structure. Repairs should be done to have the appearance exactly as it was prior to the damage done. We have a technique to “blend” the repair in to make this look as close to the original as possible.

The key to control is to have devices that the bird is not going to get used to. Stationary devices (like fake owls), will only provide temporary relief. Birds will get used to the owl and soon realize this is a fake owl. I have a colleague that has a picture of a woodpecker hole right through one of those fake owls that was mounted on a home!

A professional evaluation and consultation is what’s needed to figure out a long term solution to solving the issue. We look at the structure closely. We document type of construction, species of concern, life cycle and evaluate the pressure on the home. Then we can provide guidance on how to proceed and what devices or control methods would be the most effective.

All woodpeckers are federally protected by law. DO NOT KILL THEM. Depredation permits are available to apply for through the US Fish & Wildlife Service, but they are not guaranteed to be approved and are costly. However, it is rare that these are needed to resolve the issue. In fact, killing the bird will never prevent further damage from occurring (from new birds obviously).


Call us for help determining what can be done. We provide inspection and consultation services, installation of bird scare devices or other control methods as well as professional and proper repairs. We are licensed through the Colorado Department of Agriculture, insured and are Bird Standards Certified through NWCOA.