7 Tips to Deal With Woodpecker Holes

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated December 21, 2021
woodpecker clinging on to tree
Photo: Peter Maszlen / Adobe Stock

Is that little bird pecking away at your patience? We’ve got you

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Many of us have been there. You’re enjoying the quiet sanctity of your home, when suddenly, your peace is disturbed by the emphatic “peck, peck, peck!” outside your walls. Woodpeckers—they may be cute, but yikes, they are annoying. 

To add insult to injury, woodpeckers’ relentless pecking can wreak havoc on the outside of your home. Here’s what to do about woodpecker holes in your house.

1. Know What You're Dealing With

Woodpeckers shouldn't be considered pests. These federally protected birds cannot be hunted or killed. That means that managing woodpecker holes comes down to finding ways to prevent animal activity without disrupting the culprit.

Here's the 411 on woodpeckers:

  • They live nearly everywhere in the U.S.

  • Most are between 4 and 21 inches long.

  • Their beaks are made for drilling and drumming.

  • They peck to find food, mark their territory, and find mates. 

  • Woodpecker damage is mostly cosmetic.

  • Unmanaged holes can affect your insulation.

While you can't eliminate or trap woodpeckers, you can encourage them to leave. An animal removal specialist may provide some tips specific to your property for legally and humanely encouraging a woodpecker to stay away from your house.

2. Use Decoys to Scare Away Woodpeckers

Spook your resident woodpecker with some predator decoys. Shiny objects can also work. Some ideas include:

  • Ceramic owls

  • Faux hawks

  • Faux "bird eyes"

  • Wind chimes

  • Windsocks

  • Balloons

  • Plastic windmills

  • Hanging aluminum objects

  • Sound-based bird repellent

3. Lure a Woodpecker Away With Treats

father and son setting up birdfeeder
Photo: Yakobchuk Olena / Adobe Stock

One way to get a woodpecker off your house is to hang a bird feeder stocked with suet. Once the woodpecker finds the feast, hang the feeder further and further away each day. You can even consider building a woodpecker house that offers a better place to stay than your roof or eaves.

4. Do Damage Control

Woodpecker holes can actually be part of a larger "pest ecosystem" issue. Woodpecker holes are more severe if they’re in areas with damage from termites, carpenter ants, and carpenter bees. Eliminate any infestations.

5. Repair Holes

woodpecker holes on tree
Photo: Andrea Berger / Adobe Stock

Fill siding holes caused by a woodpecker using epoxy putty. If the woodpecker has been digging into your roof shingles, you can also fill holes and cracks using wood putty. However, swapping out a pecked shingle for a new one is a better option for saving your roof's structural integrity.

6. Add Some Peck-Proof Fortification

Consider an upgrade if you have older siding. While wood siding is vulnerable to pecks, vinyl siding is better at deterring attacks. 

Aluminum siding also deters birds. You can also place aluminum sheeting over the area that has become the bird's pecking spot.

7. Get the Damage Inspected

While you're hearing pecking sounds day and night, you may not have a good view of your roof or siding to see the damage. Woodpeckers often peck at higher parts of your home that are hard to access. They can also peck at corners to get at your insulation.

It's important to make sure a busy woodpecker hasn't already caused structural damage to your roof. Bring in a roofing pro to look for deep holes or cracks anywhere in your roofing system.

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