I found this morning a bird (Northern Flicker?) sleeping and eating my house (see picture). The bird is able to hang there and put his head in one of the hole. I suppose the bird do that to get some warm air.

The problem is that the bird has caused significant damage. How can I make sure that bird doesn't come back?

enter image description here enter image description here

  • 1
    Is it actually pecking at the wood or is the damage caused by its claws? If the latter, it might prefer a round peg to perch on. That way the bird gets a comfy place and you get someone to remove any insects in that area. Jan 16, 2017 at 16:27
  • 1
    We don't see the wood damage from the angle I took the picture. I just updated the post. We can clearly see that the bird is having fun pecking at the wood...
    – Martin
    Jan 16, 2017 at 16:57
  • 1
    You're right about the bird ID, anyway :-) . Jan 16, 2017 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


The slightly scruffy plumage and a flash of red on the tail but not on the head makes me think it is a juvenile red-shafted flicker - do you happen to be in the west of North America? - so it may not have quite figured out what a tree is yet.

First, you'll want to repair the damage and re-paint. Take the opportunity to check for insect boreholes as that will need to be taken care of too.

Then, various sites, e.g. www.birds.cornell.edu and There is a woodpecker pecking on my house! Why is it doing that? How can I make it stop?, recommend plastic netting to cover the area in question.

Other methods are suggested, but I would think that black netting would be aesthetically the least intrusive unless you want to go to the effort of applying aluminium sheet and painting that to match.

It might be that scaring it off every time you see it would suffice to put it off returning, but you're going to have to get up there to repair the damage anyway, if only to deter carpenter bees and such.

  • 1
    Red-shafted & yellow-shafted are subspecies. I think you know that but didn't want other readers to be misled. Jan 16, 2017 at 18:52
  • @CarlWitthoft I am no ornithologist, but yes, I found that in my research. However, I didn't think it all that necessary to make the distinction in my answer :) Am I likely to be correct in my assesment of it being a juvenile? Jan 16, 2017 at 18:59
  • That's harder to tell - photos often fool us a bit about overall coloration. Jan 16, 2017 at 20:03
  • @AndrewMorton - Yes, I live in the Pacific Northwest (Seattle, WA). What I don't understand is why the bird has done damage in that area? I looked closely and couldn't see any insect. I wonder if the bird could "sleep" there just because it is warm (no/little wind and heat coming from the roof). I just installed bird spikes in the area. I hope this discourage the bird from coming back.
    – Martin
    Jan 17, 2017 at 0:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.