woodpecker wars

I remember, years ago, I used to like woodpeckers, admiring their colorful beauty and stately appearance, being amazed at their peculiar characteristic of using their beak as a drilling tool to find food or make a shelter.

However, when I learned that woodpeckers had taken an interest in my neighbor’s house, I immediately checked mine. Unbeknownst to me, they had been hard at work on the shutters on the south side of my home—fortunately, it was only the shutters.

Anything that hurts or kills a woodpecker—or disturbs their nests — is illegal; they are protected. Click To Tweet

My bride, an amazing cyber-sleuth, quickly learned that:

  • It was usually just one or two woodpeckers that attack one’s abode, not a flock of them.
  • There were a variety of motivations: looking for food, establishing a nest, or trying to attract a mate.
  • There was no one guaranteed solution, but a list of possible ones— that may hinge on their motivation for pecking.
  • Anything that hurts or kills a woodpecker—or disturbs their nests — is illegal; they are protected. (Not that I would want to harm them, but recalling the tenacity and rapidity of their work, courtesy of the old Woody Woodpecker cartoons, I can envision things quickly escalating out of control.)

As a first step, I filled and painted the holes.

That solved the problem—for a few days. Though they never returned to the south side of my house, they moved their focus to the shutters on the north side, which have now been filled twice and repainted.

I made a daily walk around my home’s perimeter, scrutinizing it for the telltale signs of a woodpecker at work. I am was pleased to state that I had been woodpecker free for seven days.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Woodpecker Wars: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.


Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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