Wildlife  •  Education  •  Planetarium
Contact Us | Directions | Hours of Operation


wildlife frequently asked questions

This is one of many common questions we receive every year. However, to some extent, each situation is unique and different. Often, you will need to take the information provided here and adapt it to your individual situation. Feel free to call the Wildlife Staff for more specific advice. We have 24-hour voicemail and will return your call as quickly as possible.

3. There is a woodpecker pecking on my house. How can I get rid of it?

The bird is either pecking on the wood or the downspouts/gutters of a structure.

When it’s pecking on metal or another hard item, it is doing so because of the noise it makes. Doing anything to change the noise will usually cause the bird to abandon this quirky behavior. For example, on a downspout, putting a few layers of duct tape on the metal will change the tone of the noise made when the woodpecker hits it, which may stop the behavior.

When it’s pecking on wood, it is either digging a cavity to use as a shelter or digging much smaller holes looking for food.

If it is working on a larger hole (the cavity) placing something impervious (like hard plastic or metal) over the spot will cause it to go elsewhere. Sometimes, that “elsewhere” will be another section of the house, but often there is only one place on the house which sounds to the woodpecker like a good place to dig a cavity. Woodpeckers will always test a spot and listen for “hollowness” before they start excavating their hole. Sometimes, building or buying an artificial nest box and hanging it nearby may cause the bird to stop damaging the house, as it opts for the “pre-made” cavity.

If the bird is making numerous small holes, this indicates that your house has an insect infestation in the siding. Because successfully finding food is such a strong motivator to wild animals, the only way to break this behavior is to have the insect problem removed from the house via an exterminator.

All of these situations are great examples of why it is beneficial to leave standing dead wood upright as long as it doesn’t endanger people or our possessions. Almost every woodpecker will prefer living and eating in a rotten, standing dead tree than the side of your house.

Always, feel free to call the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s Wildlife Staff at (440) 871-2900, ext 204 for more information.

Back to Top