It's no easy feat to get rid of woodpeckers but there is a bright side - InfoNews

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It's no easy feat to get rid of woodpeckers but there is a bright side

Northern Flicker
Image Credit: Claude Rioux
April 26, 2020 - 6:00 PM

It can range from being annoying first thing in the morning to being rather expensive in some circumstances, and the issue of how to prevent woodpeckers from pecking away at the side of buildings isn't one with a straight forward answer.

"I get asked that question all the time," birdwatcher Chris Charlesworth told

The Kelowna resident and owner of Avocet Tours, which runs birdwatcher trips worldwide, said it's not easy to prevent a woodpecker that has taken a liking to a building.

However, the chances are that the common woodpecker in the Okanagan, the northern flicker, won't be around for long.

"(The flicker) likes to bang on the side of your house and metal chimneys... they just do it in the spring generally to make noise and proclaim their territory," Charlesworth said.

Contrary to what many may believe the birds aren't generally pecking at buildings to get at bugs.

"The drumming noise is a display to let the other woodpeckers know it's their territory," he said. "(It's) just a springtime display to say, 'this is my patch.'"

The birds loud pecking generally starts in February and lasts through until May. Charlesworth said the birds often favour metal chimneys, which create a loud noise when the woodpeckers are frantically banging against them.

"If they are quietly chipping away at the side of your house, maybe they are looking for bugs," Charlesworth said. If the birds are creating a one or two-inch hole, then they're probably building a nest.

While the woodpeckers' noisy behaviour may not last for long, trying to get rid of them is not an easy feat. Charlesworth recommends attaching silver strips of material that move to scare off the birds. Putting up chicken wire, especially around chimneys, can also be a temporary fix.

A recent post to the Vernon & Area Community Forum Facebook page listed a multitude of ways to prevent woodpeckers from stringing up old CDs and balloons to using fake owls or large noise controlled plastic spiders that moved when they detect birds are near.

“It's not an easy thing to get rid of,”  Charlesworth said.

While pecking on a metal chimney is unlikely to cause significant damage, not every building is as lucky. In February 2018, the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre reported the birds had been pecking at the building for several years causing large amounts of damage and expense. The Arts Centre used Kelowna company EIFS Armour, which specializes in bird resistant siding and developed their own unique woodpecker-proof cladding product.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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