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How to Stop Woodpeckers From Pecking on Trees

By Cat McCabe ; Updated September 21, 2017
Woodpeckers peck on trees to find insects or make nests.

Not all woodpeckers damage trees. In fact, woodpeckers often make their homes and search for food in trees that are already damaged, dead or rotting. The birds eat the insects that infest the trees, and clean up the environment. If woodpeckers are drumming on trees or the siding of your home, there are several ways to repel or deter them.

Step 1

Remove trees that are weakened, dead or dying. Thinning trees in a wooded area is a good way to deter woodpeckers, because the fewer dead trees there are to attract insects, the fewer woodpeckers there will be to feed on them.

Step 2

Remove from your property suet cakes and easily-accessed bird feeders that contain large oilseeds such as sunflower seeds. Woodpeckers are attracted to the oils and fats in seeds and suet, especially in winter when insects are scarce. Install metal tube feeders with smaller seeds like thistle for feeding wild birds.

Step 3

Find woodpecker-damaged trees on your property. Tack long, narrow strips of aluminum foil to the damaged areas with a tack hammer and tacks. Light refraction and the movement of the strips with the wind will create constant movement, frightening woodpeckers and making them less likely to roost and nest there.

Step 4

Try noise repellents. Bang the screen door when you see a woodpecker nearby. Other noise repellents can be as simple as banging on a pot with a spoon, yelling, or playing music loudly. You can also play bird distress calls on speakers. Repeat noise repellents consistently for at least three days.

Step 5

Paint damaged trees with sticky bird repellents, available at home and garden centers. These repellents can discourage woodpeckers from landing, roosting, and nesting by sticking their feet to the area when they land.

Step 6

Wrap woodpecker-damaged trees with landscaping cloth, first making sure there are no eggs or young birds inside the tree. Secure the cloth with tacks and a hammer. This will cause the woodpecker to go elsewhere to nest.


Things You Will Need

  • Foil
  • Tacks
  • Tack hammer
  • Bird repellent
  • Paintbrush
  • Landscaping cloth