Around this time of year, there’s another unmistakable sound of spring–the territory of drumming of woodpeckers. It is exactly as it is described: loud drumming on trees, siding of houses, and even, in my case, metal chimney caps, so as to establish territory and to keep other woodpeckers out.
I make this distinction because woodpeckers also may be drumming on your wooden house for other reasons: they may be excavating holes in the wooden siding for one of two reasons. First, there may be wood-boring insects inside that they want to eat–and you’ll know this if they are making lots of small holes in the siding.
Next, if they are making one large hole–a bigger problem for aesthetic reasons, but an easier one to solve–they are looking for a nesting site because of loss of habitat. Woodpeckers like to nest in dead trees. For lots of reasons, safety being first among them, we don’t tend to leave dead trees standing much any more. So woodpeckers have to get creative. And wooden siding is the next best thing!
The way to solve this problem is by putting up a woodpecker nest box very nearby.
To solve the insect boring problem, of course, call a professional to investigate whether you might have an insect infestation. And in the meantime, there are some deterrent methods here from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. I’ve heard some folks say they’ve had good success, and others say their woodpeckers were very determined. I guess it depends on how hungry the woodpeckers are and whether they are feeding young, as well.