Friday, 1 August 2008

The Humane Way to Take Control of a Pesky Bird Problem

(ARA) – There’s nothing more pleasant on a warm, sunny day than sitting on a backyard deck and watching song birds, cardinals and blue jays fly in and out of the backyard bird feeder; but there are certain species homeowners would rather do without. One that comes to mind is the woodpecker, Named because of just that -- they peck wood; and the last thing you want is for one to attack your home.

Woodpecks can cause a lot of damage when they peck holes in cedar wood siding or the eaves of a home while looking for shelter, trying to find food – the bugs that hide in such places -- or when they’re sending out a mating call to other birds.

Each year, homeowners spend thousands of dollars -- money that would be better spent elsewhere -- replacing the siding on their homes, as well as patching up the holes left by woodpeckers. Damage typically occurs in the spring when pairs are actively looking for nesting cavities, and fall when they are trying to find food that has become scarce.

“Because the birds are territorial, it’s best to thwart their activity early on by scaring them away. If you don’t take action, the problem will quickly get out of hand and require professional intervention,” says Bruce Donoho, owner of Bird-B-Gone, a Southern California company that since 1992 has specialized in humane bird control products.

There are some simple things he advises homeowners try before they go to the expense of calling in the professionals. First, cover any holes the woodpeckers start and repair the damage done, then resort to scare tactics.

* Exclusion
Netting is one of the most effective methods of preventing woodpeckers from damaging wood siding beneath the eaves. Simply place lightweight plastic bird meshing over the areas they have attacked in the past. A mesh of 3/4 inch is generally recommended. At least 3 inches of space should be left between the netting and damaged building so the birds can not cause damage through the mesh.

* Visual repellents
If you want to discourage a pesky bird from making your yard part of its territory, make it an undesirable place for them to be. There are several different kinds of visual deterrants you can use to scare woodpeckers away. Among the most popular options, hanging flash tape -- iridescent foil tape that will flap in the wind from a tree or gazebo; Bird-B-Gone Diverters, a keychain-like device with iridescent foil eyes that will make the birds feel like they are being watched when hung from a tree; and the Bird-B-Gone Balloon, an inflatable scare device that confuses woodpeckers with lifelike reflective predator eyes and markings painted on a giant yellow balloon.

The great thing about these type of visual products is that once the bird leaves the area you can take them down and store them away for future use. Birds can become accustomed to stationary things and if that happens, your ace in the hole will lose its effectiveness.

* Noise repellents
Using loud noises like rock music or bird distress calls are also an effective way to discourage the birds. A company called offers a Bird Chase Supersonic device that plays woodpecker distress calls and predator calls that scare birds away.

“Remember to use these techniques as soon as damage begins and continue for at least 12 days. Understand that when birds leave one site, they simply move to another one. Just hope that the new site is on something other than your backyard storage building or the house next door,” says Donoho.

For more information on how to control woodpeckers, and other birds that may be causing you problems, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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