Woodpeckers are small to medium sized birds. Usually black, white, and red in appearance with a medium sized pointed bill. Feet have two toes facing forward and two back, often in an X shape. Exact size, color, and pattern depends on the species.
Woodpeckers flit from tree to tree, often using their unique feet to climb both up and down trunks looking for insect bore-holes. They have loud alarm calls, often mistaken for birds of prey or other animals entirely.
Woodpeckers feed primarily on insects and nuts, using their reinforced bills and incredibly long tongues to hammer into trees for grubs and nut shells for their meat. Many woodpeckers will also visit suet feeders and even hammer into buildings looking for hidden insects.
Most woodpecker species prefer forested areas, though some will choose edge areas with tree cover.
The majority of woodpecker species are cavity nesters, either using existing holes in trees or making their own. Some may use birdhouses, but they usually prefer to be up higher than most houses are placed. Pairs may fight over suitable cavities, even members of other species.
Some species are resident while others migrate.
ISSUES CAUSED BY WOODPECKERS:
- Damage to wooden buildings from birds searching for food
- Noise annoyance from hammering
Woodpecker damage to wooden house siding
HOW TO MANAGE ISSUES WITH WOODPECKERS
- Reduce food draws on wooden buildings by eliminating insect pests
- Block off access to wooden areas of buildings with netting or metal sheeting
- Motion/vibration detecting scare devices
Sources: The Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology bird guide, Humane Society of the United States, Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, Nest Watch