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Wildlife Damage Management

Woodpeckers

Yellowhammer

There are eight species of woodpeckers in Alabama. The state bird is a woodpecker called the “Northern Flicker” or “Yellowhammer.” Other woodpeckers in Alabama include the red-cockaded, the downy, and the hairy woodpecker. These three species are about the same size (7-9 inches) and are mostly black and white. The redheaded and red-bellied woodpeckers are both about 9 inches tall and are black and white with red plumage covering or partially covering the head. A yellow-bellied sapsucker is similar in size and color to the red-bellied woodpecker, but he looks like he needs a bath and has a red patch on his crown. The largest Alabama woodpecker is the pileated woodpecker measuring 16.5 inches in height.

Woodpeckers make a distinct sound as they drum the trunks of dead and dying trees looking for insects to eat, excavating nest cavities, or simply announcing their Pileated woodpecker - Photo by Don Gettypresence. As long as the birds confine their activities to trees, people seem happy to have them around. However, when a woodpecker chooses your home as a drumming sight, the sound can be alarming, and the destruction of wood siding or drainpipes can cause a problem.

A woodpecker may drum on your house if there are insects in or under the exterior surface. He may also be trying to advertise himself to other females or establish his territory. The bird has probably tried a few trees in the area and found that your house makes the best and loudest sound of all the trees. The best way to discourage the bird from pecking on your house is to make the acoustics less favorable for him or make it uncomfortable to roost in his favorite spot. Stretch a wire tightly over a roosting spot or harass the woodpecker by spraying him with a water hose. Using insecticides or toxic wood preservatives to repair any damage he causes may help to discourage his return and protect the wood.

More Info
(from University of Florida
IFAS Extension)