Woodpecker, Go Away!

Woodpecker, Go Away!


For the past week or so, my husband and I have been woken up quite abruptly, not by the buzzing of our alarm clock, but by the drumming sounds of a woodpecker—at 5am! This woodpecker had decided that the metal (yes, metal!) gutter on the roof just above our bed was the perfect place to peck. The first morning, we thought it might just be a one-time thing, but, no, this woodpecker arrived at day break for several mornings in a row to drum on our gutter, probably waking up half the neighborhood.

We had had enough! We googled “woodpecker deterrent” and came up with a plan, well, actually several plans. The first one involved owl decoys, a common “scarecrow” for pests. Unfortunately, an Amazon delivery would be days away, so after my daughter nixed the idea of putting out one of her stuffed animals as a decoy, we had to settle on flat drawings. My daughter and I drew several pictures that we taped onto the siding as high up as we could. My daughter also printed a large photograph of owl eyes that we taped to our bedroom window. The next morning, the drumming began at 5:45am instead or 5am, so maybe our owl pictures were a little deterrent, but not for long. We knew we needed to go bigger!

The next Google suggestion was types of shiny, reflective, twirly pieces that scare the birds. Again, the Amazon shipping would be a few days away, and we needed sleep, so my daughter and I went to work again, this time, putting our creativity to work. We gathered our supplies—wire coat hanger, yarn, and tin foil. Then we folded sheets of tin foil into strips about 1” wide, twisted them a little to make them float in the wind more, poked a hole in the top of each, and tied 6 of them to the coat hanger.

The first challenge was how to reach the gutter. We thought climbing a ladder, but we didn’t have one tall enough. Then my daughter noticed how close one of the bedroom windows was, so we decided I’d open the top of it and lean out with the hanger on the end of a pole.

We headed to the garage in search for long poles, and found my son’s ski pole. This had a great stopper circle on the bottom so the coat hanger wouldn’t slide down as we angled it up to the gutter, but we were afraid it might slide off the tip. My daughter suggested tying a hair tie around the tip to make a barrier, and that worked well to assure the hanger would not slide down or off as we lifted it.

So off I went to the bedroom with ski pole and hanger with tin foil strips, and off she went outside to guide me as I tried to ease the hook onto the gutter. After a few tries, it actually worked! Our tin foil mobile was happily dangling from the corner gutter!


And now, for the real test. Would it deter the woodpecker? The next morning, we were abruptly awoken, not by the woodpecker at 5am, but by our alarm at 8am! Hooray! It worked! And it worked last night, too! So, we are hoping that the woodpecker has now found a lovely old tree deep in the woods to drum on at 5am (and not another neighbor’s house!) and that we will get some nice long sleeps form now on, knock on wood! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

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