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Woodpeckers' Habitat: Where To Find Them?
Woodpeckers are found all around the world, except for Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar, extremely polar areas, and on oceanic islands. A woodpecker's habitat usually includes trees, shrubs or woodland areas to serve as their cover, a good source of insects for their food, and a source of clean water. They usually find shelter in trees where they burrow, or drill a hole to serve as their home and the insects inside the trees they burrowed in serves as their food.
Some species of woodpeckers are also known to live in the deserts of the Southwestern United States, near where you can find a palm oasis and tall cacti that serve as their nesting sites. They can also live on man-made structures like homes and barns as long as it makes a good nesting area. Although some species still prefer living in remote areas or in rainforests where they can have many choices on trees to live and eat from, many species of woodpeckers have also adapted well to living in suburban or even urban areas. They can also adapt to living in savannas, grasslands, scrub lands and bamboo forests. A number of woodpecker species have also adapted to feeding and nesting in holes in the ground instead of high up in a tree.
Woodpecker’s Feeding Habits
Many people think that woodpecker’s drumming or drilling is to just find food or build a home. In fact, these birds use this as a form of communication. While it is true that they will also drill if there is a food source (nest of bugs or plenty of sap) they mainly do it for communication. These bird species are incredibly unique and enjoy eating a large variety of insects, in particular termites, ants and other tree dwelling insects, such as grubs. In addition to feeding off of these they will also eat sap and occasionally bark.
These birds have a very high metabolism so spend much of their time foraging for food. In addition to feeding off of wood living insects they will also feed on nuts and seeds along with fruits. They tend to feed seasonally which is to say their diet will mostly contain sap in the springtime, bugs in the full summer and fruits, nuts and seeds in the fall. There are many species that store food to get them by during the winter such as seeds and nuts. They will be attracted to suet, fruit like oranges and apples, peanut butter, nectar and traditional bird feeders so if you are trying to keep them away it’s important to stop feeding all birds for some time.
Reproduction Of Woodpeckers
Many woodpecker species are territorial and do not migrate. In addition, they are quite often protected and because of this you should be very careful in trying to safely remove them. From April to June these birds are generally nesting so it’s best not to attempt removing them during this time at all. The female will lay up to about four eggs in her mate’s next which is a cavity in a tree. They are social birds and often group members will help to incubate the eggs. Eggs are white and small and take about twelve days to hatch. Once the young have sprung fourth they will stay in the parent nest for around 26 days.
Young birds tend to stick with their parents and make up the group until there can be as many as nine or more birds in the flock, though it tends to stay closer to about four. Part of the reason these birds are so slow to reproduce is there is generally only one pair of breeding birds in a group and the rest help to raise that single brood in a year. The group tends to be made up of young males tending the young while the females leave in search of forming their own groups.
Diseases That Can Be Transmitted By Woodpeckers
Woodpeckers can be carriers of some disease. One of these is Histomlasmosis, a respiratory disease caused by spores of fungus, Histoplasma capsulatum, that grow on bird droppings. Infected people show almost no symptoms at all but develop an acute respiratory condition as a result of lung infection. The West Nile virus was also known to be found on woodpeckers and causes what is called West Nile fever that may cause symptoms such as abdominal pains, headaches, nausea, vomiting and others. E.Coli bacterias can also be carried by woodpeckers. The main symptoms of E. coli infections are bloody diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and vomiting. Most people don’t even know that they've contracted E. coli as they usually get better in a week or so by home treatments. But E. coli can also cause serious problems in your blood and kidneys and needs immediate attention.
Woodpeckers may carry Salmonella bacteria that can cause infections. This may cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and ultimately lead to dehydration and even death. It may also cause abdominal cramps and typhoid fever when untreated. The fever may reach up to 104 F and causes stomach and intestine inflammation. It is important to understand the spread of these diseases is only through contact with their feces and not the birds themselves. They cause more of a nuisance than a problem with spreading disease. If you have a nuisance woodpecker be very careful about removing them as most species are protected.
Read about how to trap a woodpecker
with a special net trap.
SOME SPECIFIC WOODPECKER AREAS OF INTEREST:
How To Keep Woodpeckers Off Your House
If a woodpecker is destroying your wooden siding, there are several steps you can take to stop the pecking and to prevent the problem from reoccurring. Hanging aluminum windmills, foil strips, or similar shiny, reflective materials may scare the woodpecker away. Woodpeckers are also easily frightened by noises, so a motion sensor that emits a sound, or some hanging wind chimes, might prevent the woodpecker from returning. Please remember to keep these working at all you’ll need to change it up frequently as the birds will grow accustom to the sights and sounds.
Some use fake, plastic predators. The woodpecker may become accustomed to seeing the fake predators after a few days and return, so you would need to move the fakes around frequently. Also, if you hang the fake predators so that they are free to sway with the wind, appearing to be alive, the woodpecker is less likely to return. Remember these deterrents are generally ineffective. You should check for termites or other pests that might be attracting the woodpecker, and treat your home if there is an infestation. If none of these ideas prevent the woodpecker from returning, then you may need to consider replacing your wood siding with aluminum siding.
How To Keep Woodpeckers Off Your Garage
A woodpecker pecking on your wooden-sided garage is not only a noisy nuisance, but it can also cause considerable damage to the wood. Fortunately, there are many ideas you can try to get rid of the woodpecker and to keep it from returning. Woodpeckers have many natural predators, so if you hang a few realistic looking plastic owls or hawks around your garage, the woodpecker may be scared to nest there. After a few days, the woodpecker may get used to seeing them and return, so this works best if you move them around occasionally. Noises, especially human sounds, also frighten woodpeckers. It is important to remember these repellants are not the best.
Woodpeckers don’t like shiny surfaces, so you could hang some strips of aluminum foil or reflective tape from the roof and sides of your garage. Not to mention placing the metal over an area the woodpecker has been working at will force him to move. You should also check your garage for bee nests and remove any that you find so that your garage is not both a home and a food source for the woodpecker.
How To Keep Woodpeckers Off Your Fence
If a woodpecker chooses your wooden fence to peck holes in, there are several ideas you can try to keep it away. Woodpeckers don’t like shiny, reflective objects, particularly ones that move, so you could place some tin pinwheels on sticks into the ground along the fence line. Or, you might try wrapping some reflective tape strips along the posts and rails and letting the ends of the strips flap. Another idea is to string several shiny pie tins together and hang them from the fence rails. The tins will bang against each other when the wind blows, making a noise that the woodpecker won’t like. Shiny wind chimes strung from the fence might work as well. You could also try placing a couple of sound emitting motion sensors along your fence line. The trick with any of these is that there will need to be constant rotation and moving.
The best thing to do is to make sure there isn’t a ready food source nearby. This could be in the form of any of a wide range of insects such as termites, ants and bees. If there are any bugs in your fence you will need to replace it and if you do then consider something not made of wood. You might need to try a combination of these ideas to get rid of the woodpecker and to make sure it doesn’t return.
How To Keep Woodpeckers Off Your Shed
A woodpecker nesting in or pecking on your wooden shed can cause extensive damage to the wood. If you hear the hammering sounds of a woodpecker or find holes in the walls of your shed, there are several measures you can take to prevent the woodpecker from returning and causing further damage. Tin foil can be used as a deterrent because woodpeckers are repelled by the shine.
Try hanging some sheets or strips of foil in several places along your shed’s roof and walls. Shiny pinwheels or windmills hung from the roof also work well because the spinning movement frightens the woodpecker. These may work but you’ll need to move them around a lot. You should consider covering the area the birds have been working at with metal as this will adequately prevent them from doing damage. Some motion sensors emit a beeping or buzzing sound that would frighten the woodpecker; you could place a few of these sensors in various places along your shed. Your best bet besides changing the wood shed out for an aluminum one is to make sure there isn’t a food source for the birds. This often comes by way of termites, ants and bees.