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From: John dabrowski
Champaign, IL
We have a summer home on lake sara near effingham. woodpeckers continually bore through the wood siding that clads the chase for the fireplace. how can we stop them. we are not at the home on a continuous basis.

Extension Message
From: Laura Kammin
Visiting Extension Specialist, Pollution Prevention
Extension-Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant College Program
This response was provided by Darryl Coates, Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist, and Laura Kammin, University of Illinois Extension.

Woodpeckers are not songbirds. Instead of singing to attract a mate, woodpecker’s display drumming behavior. Woodpeckers will drum on wood siding, TV aerials, gutters and down spouts. Drumming typically stops by summer once the woodpecker has found a mate and established its territory. In spring and fall woodpeckers will excavate cavities for nesting and for winter shelter. Unfortunately, they sometimes pick houses with wooden siding instead of trees. Woodpeckers also drill into wooden structures looking for insects. If you are getting large holes in wood siding, it may be damage caused by the Northern Flicker. Recommendations to deter damage can be found on this website at:

Once the behavior has begun, it is hard to stop. Especially if you are not at the property regularly. Hanging strips of Mylar tape or other shiny material (thin strips of aluminum foil) may scare the woodpeckers away. To prevent the woodpeckers from building a nest cavity, repair the holes with wood putty or use hardware cloth to keep them from making the holes larger. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a website that deals with woodpecker damage and how to prevent it. It can be accessed at:

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