Date of this Version
Damage to homes and buildings caused by woodpeckers is a widespread and locally severe problem in vertebrate pest control. This paper describes the distribution, characteristics, and impacts of woodpecker damage as determined by questionnaires, interviews, and published accounts. Woodpecker damage results from territorial behavior, feeding, or nesting activity. Some plywood and cedar are especially vulnerable. Average loss per incident is about $300, although some cases result in much greater losses. Disturbance and aggravation are also important factors. Abatement measures include scare devices, structural modification, chemical treatment of the siding, and shooting or trapping (with a permit). Success is variable. Recommendations to reduce the problem include a public awareness program, continued abatement research, a change in plywood production or installation procedures, and a reduction in the effort required to obtain a permit for lethal control.