April 8, 2007 in Outdoors

CRITTER WATCH: When woodpeckers come knocking

Rich Landers Outdoors Editor
The Spokesman-Review photo

A northern flicker peaks out of a natural nest in a tree cavity, where it poses no nuisance to Critter Watch.
(Full-size photo)

If you hear what sounds like a jackhammer on the roof shortly around sunrise this month, it’s more likely to be a woodpecker looking for love.

Woodpeckers, particularly northern flickers, have discovered the noisemaking capability of metal roof vents for attracting and winning the hearts of mates. Meantime, occupants of the house are more likely to get heartburn.

It’s legitimate for you to claim your territory. Run out in your underwear, spray the drumming bird with a hose, have a bucket of pea gravel handy and “pepper” the roof in the manner that vice-presidents have been known to treat their friends.

I’ve tried these tactics. While they sometimes deter the woodpeckers from returning, they always amuse the neighbors.

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