Why Do Woodpeckers Peck Wood? How To Avoid A Woodpecker's Pecking | Kidadl


Why Do Woodpeckers Peck Wood? How To Avoid A Woodpecker's Pecking

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Woodpeckers belong to the family of Picidae.

The members of the Picidae family are prevalent in most regions across the world except for polar regions, Australia and New Zealand. Woodpeckers can be seen mostly in forests and woodland habitats.

Did you know that 200 species of these Woodpeckers exist in the wild? The common types of North American woodpeckers are downy, pileated, hairy, northern flicker, red-headed, and red-bellied woodpecker. The family members of Picidae are mainly known for their characteristic behavior. They mostly communicate through drumming, especially with an extremely strong beak, which produces a reverberatory sound that reaches us from quite a long distance.

Few other birds in their species eat fruits, bird's eggs, small animals, tree sap, and human scraps. Woodpeckers mostly nest in holes they excavate in tree trunks. The abandoned holes of these woodpeckers are also important to or used by other cavity-nesting birds. Though several big conflicts arise with humans when they make a hole in buildings and feed on fruit crops, they serve a purpose by performing a useful service, i.e., removing insect pests on trees.

Woodpeckers are very tiny birds that cannot usually be observed from a distance when you try to spot them. Very few species of woodpeckers live in rocky hillsides and deserts, and only a few species are found in tree-less areas. The Gila woodpecker specializes in exploiting cacti. The average lifespan of the woodpecker can be 4-12 years, and it may vary according to the species.

Woodpeckers have long sticky tongues for extracting their food. There are many subspecies of woodpecker birds that reside in forests, like the red woodpecker, the downy woodpecker, the ivory-billed woodpecker, and the red-headed woodpecker.

We present some fun facts in this article about this fascinating bird species whose habitat resides in a wide range of forests. If you found this article interesting, check our other articles on why do crickets chirp? And why do wolves howl?

What trees do woodpeckers peck on?

Woodpeckers are birds primarily found in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the United States. Have you seen small holes in the trees caused by woodpecker damage and made you wonder why this happens? The woodpeckers like to peck wood in the trees to search for food or build a nesting site.

Their specialized beaks are designed for breaking wooden areas on or around your home, making them a notable, damaging pest in the New Jersey and Pennsylvania areas. Woodpeckers are attracted to wood siding, trees, and decks, making your home a playground for them. Woodpeckers attract themselves to trees like pine, birch, fruit trees, spruce, and sweet gums.

Well, one may wonder if this constant pecking can kill a tree? Well, not really. Most trees can withstand the brunt of the woodpecker's pecking. Healthy tree wood may not be affected much unless the trunks or branches are heavily worn out. Do you think that these busy woodpeckers keep pecking all day long? That answer to that is no. Woodpeckers are diurnal in nature and during the day, might be seen pecking at things available around them. But during the night, they retire for the day and sleep by following the pattern of light.

Woodpeckers have tongues that are twice as long as their bills. It helps them dig deeper into holes and gaps and fetch their food. The sticky and barbed nature of the tongue helps in pulling out their meals. When not in use, they place their tongue curled up behind their head between their skin and skull. These birds also prefer to hold themselves vertically upwards while climbing down a tree to search for their food. This unique feature allows the woodpecker to access the tree differently and have more access to the food they crave.

Why do woodpeckers peck wood on a house?

Have you witnessed an annoying tapping sound on the wood of your house caused by a little miscreant in the form of a woodpecker? What does this pecking mean? Let’s find out now.

Woodpeckers hammer on wood on your house and could be attracted to your house for various reasons. One of the reasons for this loud drumming sound may be to establish or create its own territory and attract company in the form of a mate. The drumming sound is likely to stop once the breeding starts in the spring season. Another reason for drumming may be to build their nest for breeding or to look for insects like ants in the holes they create. The tapping may also scare away any possible threats that may damage their chances of mating.

So how do we stop these woodpeckers from pecking and damaging our house? We are not going for professional help yet but we can take protected measures to control these sapsuckers, and move them away from any site made of wood on our house. You must have heard that placing life-sized owls, plastic eyes on fishing strings, reflective streamers, and even pinwheels seem to work on woodpeckers sometimes. On the other hand, the use of wind chimes to try to keep the woodpeckers away probably won’t help much.

Don't we all want to get respite from these pecking sounds and the holes that are being drilled into our home? Yes, indeed. But we should also understand that these feather buddies are threatened by the loss of habitat posed by urbanization. Usage of insecticides also destroys vital sources of food for these birds, and forest fires have destroyed the habitats of these bird species.

How often do woodpeckers peck?

Male adult Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) bird pecking a hole in a tree trunk

Looking at a tree trunk with many holes may be a sign of the presence of woodpeckers in our surroundings. So what keeps these birds busy?

Woodpeckers are constantly on the lookout for their favorite food in their territory. They will drill into the tree trunk to search for their tasty meals in the form of insects or bugs. These animals cause some damage to trees finding the larvae of bees or larvae of bagworms. Bugs hunted by woodpeckers and the unintentional damage to your property may be unnerving sometimes.

Do you know the speed at which a woodpecker pecks? It is interesting to note that woodpeckers can peck at a rate of 20 times in one second in search of insects on dead parts of the tree. It can amount to pecking about 8,000-12,000 times a day, so the drilling of woodpeckers is definitely very meticulous.

These woodpeckers usually stay in one place so long as their food requirements are met. Generally, they tend to stay in one place year-round, and some may migrate during winter.

 Why do woodpeckers peck at wood siding?

Have you seen a woodpecker peck at a wood siding or a tree bark making a unique noise? Did it make you wonder what makes a woodpecker peck a tree and drill hole in such a manner? Let us explore this bird behavior even further.

The wooden siding, especially siding that is made of cedar or redwood, houses very tiny insects inside them. This houses the woodpecker’s favorite food, which is the larvae of the leafcutter bee. These insects bore themselves into the openings in siding and hibernate for winter. A woodpecker is an intelligent bird that senses the presence of insects in these sidings and may drill the siding for a sumptuous meal. They are also capable of removing the sap from a bark! How cool is that! This is the woodpecker bird ruling its territory. The woodpecker may be seen drilling 5-6 holes in a horizontal line, each sizing 0.5 in (1.27 cm).

Despite this, we cannot control the nesting behavior of the woodpeckers in the tree. Nevertheless, a nest in a tree is a safe haven for these birds. Woodpeckers nest in trees relating to their mating season, and they will build nests in the bark of the trees in search of a mate.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do woodpeckers peck wood? And how to avoid a woodpecker's pecking? Then why not take a look at why do dogs shake their heads? Cool pet dog facts that kids will love, or why do bats sleep upside down? Learn Amazing Facts About Bats.

Written By
Deepthi Reddy

A content writer, travel enthusiast, and mother of two kids (12 and 7), Deepthi Reddy is an MBA graduate who has finally struck the right chord in writing. The joy of learning new things and the art of writing creative articles gave her immense happiness, which helped her write with more perfection. Articles about travel, movies, people, animals and birds, pet care, and parenting are a few of the topics written by her. Traveling, food, learning about new cultures, and movies have always interested her, but now her passion for writing is also added to the list.

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