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Gila Woodpecker repellent deterrent biology, identification

 

   Why Control Woodpeckers?

   Arizona has what is called a "Gila Woodpecker" and they are protected by law from shooting or trapping without a special permit from the Fish & Game Department which takes a long time to get, if at all.

   There are over 200 different species of woodpeckers worldwide, 23 of which can be found in the United States. The woodpecker is most commonly found in wooded regions of the country, where they can cause damage to the exterior of wooden buildings and houses. The Woodpecker’s unique body is designed to easily cling to tree trunks, branches, wood siding, or utility poles while pecking for food.

   It is commonly known that woodpeckers peck into wood. They do this for a several reasons; (1)in search of food; (2)mating call; (3)nest building; (4) food storage. A common misconception is that woodpeckers only peck for food.

  "Woodpeckers have characteristic calls, but they also use a rhythmic pecking sequence to make their presence known. This is known as "drumming" which establishes their territories and attracts mates.

  

 

Height/Weight
7” to 15”
1-1/2oz to 16oz

Life Span
5 to 12 years depending on species

Flight Speed
20 to 44mph

Range
All fifty states
mostly suburban areas

Food
Insects, fruit, nuts, seeds, tree sap

Habitat
Trees, wood siding, telephone poles, fences

   Woodpeckers breed in the spring time, laying about 3 to 6 eggs. The incubation process lasts about 11 to 14 days. Most woodpeckers are born naked. Both male and female woodpeckers take care of the young. Woodpeckers usually lay 2 to 3 sets of eggs each year.

   Woodpeckers come into conflict with people when they use human dwellings in their search of food, or as a surface for territorial/social drumming, or for nest construction. Such activities not only create disturbing noises but, more significantly, may cause structural damage. Pecking damage can occur on wooden siding, eaves, or trim boards. Cedar and redwood siding seem most vulnerable, especially rough-hewn veneer-type plywood. Reverse board-and-batten veneer plywood is especially prone because of gaps created as a result of the manufacturing process. These gaps provide hidden spaces that harbor insects, which in turn, attract woodpeckers in search of food. When searching for insects, woodpeckers leave a series of small holes all in a row, which is characteristic damage. Woodpeckers will also peck larger holes in wood siding to create nests in the wall cavity. Exploratory pecking is commonplace. The damage tends to be on houses in or near natural wooded areas and most often occurs in suburban or rural settings.

Part of a woodpecker's breeding behavior is an incessant rhythmic tapping or repetitive drumming on wood or other hard surfaces using the bill as a way of proclaiming breeding territory and social significance. Woodpeckers prefer drumming surfaces that resonate loudly. They frequently bypass wood and use metal gutters and downspouts, television antennae, or metal rooftop ventilators. Both male and female woodpeckers drum. This activity may be annoying to household residents, especially if it starts in the early morning hours.

Several methods have been used to prevent damage or to frighten woodpeckers from a site. Physical exclusion is by far the most effective. More often than not, frightening devices, sonic devices or repellents fail to provide the desired result.

Installing bird-type netting to prevent woodpeckers from gaining access to wood siding or other wood surfaces is the most effective method to stop building damage. The lightweight netting in 3/4-inch mesh is stretched from the eaves to a lower point on the building. Alternatively, the netting can be stretched over any flat surface subject to damage, leaving at least three inches of space between the netting and damaged surface so that the birds cannot cause further damage through the mesh. If the appropriate type and color of netting is selected and properly installed, it is barely visible from a distance of a few yards and will offer a long-term solution to prevent subsequent damage. Remember that you may have to net the entire side of a building; otherwise the woodpecker may move just beyond the netted area and continue its activities.

Frightening Devices

Models of hawks, owls, and snakes are ineffective as frightening devices. Plastic twirlers or windmills fastened to the eaves, and aluminum foil or brightly colored plastic strips hung from above repel by movement and reflection and have been used with inconsistent degrees of success. Various other gadgets or devices are marketed for frightening woodpeckers, including a sound-activated giant model of a climbing spider. Some claim that various frightening devices resolved their particular problem. This is possible only if the woodpecker has not become well-attached to that particular location. Once established, woodpeckers are persistent and are not easily driven from their territory or selected pecking site.

 
LEGAL STATUS

All woodpeckers are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as migratory insectivorous birds and are classified as non-game by the state. Two California woodpeckers (Gila woodpecker, Melanerpes uropygialis, and Gilded northern flicker, Colaptes auratus chrysoides) are California-listed endangered species and are offered greater protection. When warranted, woodpeckers other than endangered species can be killed, but only under a permit issued by the Law Enforcement Division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service upon recommendation of the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) Wildlife Services personnel. Generally there must be a good case to justify a permit and the permit process is time consuming.

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Pigeon control, bird control, bat removal services are offered in: Anthem, Ahwatukee, Chandler, Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Florence Junction, Miami, Tempe, Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Paradise Valley, Peoria, Gilbert, Surprise, Sun City, Sun City West, Sun City Grand, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, Carefree, Cave Creek, Queen Creek, El Mirage, Youngtown, Buckeye, Fountain Hills,  Arizona  PLEASE NOTE IN: Tucson, Casa Grande, Eloy, Yuma, Flagstaff, Kingman, Bullhead City, Laughlin, Lake Havasu, Henderson, Las Vegas, Utah, Colorado, Texas - Commercial Projects Only  

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