Interesting Facts about Woodpeckers

Interesting Facts about Woodpeckers

Posted on February 21, 2016 by Alex Kecskes in Woodpecker Deterrents

There are 22 species of woodpeckers in North America, the most common being the Downey Woodpecker. Also quite ubiquitous are the Hairy Woodpecker, Pileated Woodpecker and the Northern Flicker. The blackish-green Lewis woodpecker is one of the largest woodpeckers in the US at 11 inches long, A woodpecker's tongue can be as long 4 inches, depending on the species, and many woodpeckers have barbed tongues to extract bugs from trees and holes. The birds live about 4-11 years, depending on the species. The important thing to note about these birds is that they’re all protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which means they can’t be killed or harmed without incurring severe legal penalties.

Holes and More Holes

Woodpeckers can peck up to 20 times per second, or a total of 8,000-12,000 pecks per day. The birds damage residential and commercial buildings, drilling large holes in eaves, window frames and trim boards. Cedar, redwood siding, plywood, pine, fir, cypress—virtually all woods are vulnerable. They can quickly disfigure board-and batten or tongue-and-groove siding, especially at the seams, leaving gaping, baseball size holes. Telephone poles are also attacked, as are other types of utility structures. And no surface is safe. Aluminum siding, fascia or trim, even stucco or brick are susceptible to damage. They'll even puncture metal gutters, downspouts, chimney tops, TV antennas, rooftop plumbing vents, and metal roof valleys. Their goal: to feed on insects and attract mates.

Woodpeckers Damage Commercial Siding

Many a commercial building owner has spent thousands of dollars repairing the significant damage caused by woodpeckers. The little birds relentlessly tap into siding, fascia boards, EIFS (Exterior Insulation & Finishing System) cladding, and all those nice architectural elements created with foam. Holes left by woodpeckers can compromise the integrity of a wall and eventually lead to troublesome water penetration. The small cone-shaped series of holes (usually less than an inch in diameter) will destroy the lamina, and you may even discover baby woodpeckers living in your walls.

Woodpeckers Damage Trees

If your commercial property is accented with rows of decorative trees, these can be susceptible to extensive woodpecker damage. Migratory woodpeckers like the yellow-bellied sapsucker can damage trees as they migrate in March, April and May, returning in September and October. Pines, spruces, birch, sweet gums and fruit trees often fall victim to woodpeckers. While the holes drilled into the bark rarely kill the tree, they can weaken it, leaving it more vulnerable to disease and insect infestation.

Woodpeckers Attract Other Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers begin their heavy drumming and drilling activities during fall season—September 22nd and to December 21st. Hole drilling increases in the fall because the holes often serve as winter roost cavities. When woodpeckers appear they tap and tap, not just to get at insects but to attract other woodpeckers. It doesn’t take long before you have a flock of these birds destroying your property.

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