MN Nuisance Wilflife Control
Honey Bees
Service Area
Humane Trapping
Damage Repair
Dead Animal Removal


MN Department of Health
MN Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Pileated Woodpecker Elk RiverNine species of woodpecker live in Minnesota.  The Yellow-bellied sapsuckers and flickers are migratory and leave for the winter, but the others live in our state year-round. All Minnesota woodpeckers are classified as migratory, nongame birds and are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act and can only be controlled with a Federal depredation permit. Territorial drumming occurs most frequently in spring. Drumming, the term given to the sound of pecking in rapid rhythmic succession on metal or wood, causes little damage other than possible paint removal on metal surfaces; however, the noise can often be heard throughout the house and becomes quite annoying, especially in the early morning hours when occupants are still asleep. Drumming is predominately a springtime activity. Drumming sites are apparently selected on the basis of the resonant qualities. They often include metal surfaces such as metal gutters, downspouts, chimney caps, TV antennas, rooftop plumbing vents and metal roof valleys. Drumming may occur a number of times during a single day, and the activity may go on for some days or months. Wood surfaces may be disfigured from drumming but the damage may not be severe. Once the mating has occurred the woodpeckers look for a nesting site, these excavated holes can be on the sides of houses, in your soffits or fascia boards. As a rule, woodpeckers do not dig for food or excavate nest cavities in sound (live) wood. So your house is a perfect nesting site. The nesting cavities woodpeckers drill into houses become homes for other creatures - bluebirds, chickadees, and squirrels. Woodpeckers will also drill into houses looking for insects.

Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
Woodpecker Damage
Damage to wooden buildings may take one of several forms. Holes may be drilled into wood siding, eaves, window frames, and trim boards. Houses or buildings with wood exteriors in suburbs near wooded areas or in rural wooded settings are most apt to suffer pecking and hole damage. Generally, damage to a building involves only one or two birds, but it may involve up to six or eight during a season. Most of the damage occurs from February through June, which corresponds with the breeding season and the period of territory establishment. Woodpeckers can be particularly destructive to summer or vacation homes that are vacant during part of the year, since their attacks often go undetected until serious damage has occurred. For the same reason, barns and other wooden outbuildings may also suffer severe damage. Woodpeckers prefer cedar and redwood siding, but will damage pine, fir, cypress, and others when the choices are limited. Natural or stained wood surfaces are preferred over painted wood, and newer houses in an area are often primary targets. Particularly vulnerable to damage are rustic-appearing, channeled (grooved to simulate reverse board and batten) plywood’s with cedar or redwood veneers. Imperfections (core gaps) in the intercore plywood layers exposed by the vertical grooves may harbor insects. The woodpeckers often break out these core gaps, leaving characteristic narrow horizontal damage patterns in their search for insects.

Woodpecker Control
Woodpeckers can be very persistent and are not easily driven from their territories or selected pecking sites. Nuisance Bat and Wildlife Control has great success with a noise activated deterrent. This unit operates on batteries and when a woodpecker starts his drilling it activates the device. If the woodpeckers have started a nest inside the walls of your house, we have 2 choices, wait till the young are ready to fly then use our deterrents or apply for a depredation permit and remove the problem birds.

Netting is one of the most effective methods of excluding woodpeckers from damaging wood siding beneath the eaves is to place lightweight plastic bird-type netting over the area. A mesh of 3/4 inch is generally recommended. At least 3 inches of space should be left between the netting and the damaged building so that birds cannot cause damage through the mesh. The netting can also be attached to the overhanging eaves and angled back to the siding below the damaged area and secured taut but not overly tight. Be sure to secure the netting so that the birds have no way to get behind it. If installed properly, the netting is barely visible from a distance and will offer a long-term solution to the damage problem. If the birds move to another area of the dwelling, that too will need to be netted. Netting becomes increasingly popular as a solution to woodpecker problems because it consistently gives desired results.