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Oh No, Not the Gutters Too! Understanding a Woodpecker’s Obsession with Your Home

Oh No, Not the Gutters Too! Understanding a Woodpecker’s Obsession with Your Home

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You hear a persistent hammering noise around your house so you decide to investigate.

You make sure no one is pouring water down your chimney, no one is using a jackhammer nearby, and no drones are landing on your roof.

What’s that noise? Oh, it’s a woodpecker pecking away at your gutters!

After figuring out the culprit, you may be wondering ‘why is a woodpecker pecking on my gutters?’ or ‘how do I get it to stop?’. This is where our guide comes in!

Reasons a Woodpecker Would Peck on Gutters

So you’ve identified a woodpecker as the reason behind the continuous hammering against your gutters. But why is it happening in the first place?

Well, we can tell you it’s not something they do for fun! Here’s why these birds peck gutters:

1 – They’re Drumming

Woodpeckers may be pecking on your gutters as part of their drumming behavior. This is when woodpeckers tap against a surface to generate a pattern of sounds.

Drumming in woodpecker language can refer to one of two things; either the woodpecker is marking its territory or attracting a mate (both males and females do this!).

Instead of vocal calls, woodpeckers depend on the noise produced by hitting their beaks against hard surfaces. These loud sounds allow them to draw attention to themselves for potential partners or communicate their claim of the territory to rival birds.

The used hard surface just happens to be your gutters. It’s nothing personal!

If this is the reason behind your pecking symphony, it’ll probably stop after spring when the mating season is over.

2 – They’re Storing Food

You may be dealing with woodpeckers that are storing food in the gutters.

For example, acorn woodpeckers could be keeping acorns in acorn-sized holes across the wooden surface of your gutters if you reside in a Western state.

3 – They’re Feeding

Woodpeckers may also be hammering on your gutters because they’re eating the insects residing inside the lines. This is especially true if your gutter sidings are made out of wood.

When water overflows and saturates the wood sidings, the saturation causes rot. This rotting creates a hospitable environment for insects such as termites, grass bagworms, carpenter bees, wood-boring beetles, and leafcutter bees.

Woodpeckers love feeding on these insects and their larvae. Not to mention, the now softened wood makes it easier for the insects to pass through and multiply inside, which means more food for the birds.

In this case, you should consider calling in an exterminator to get rid of the infestation.

4 – They’re Building a Nest

Last but not least, the woodpeckers could be making a home for themselves in your gutters.

If you live in a suburban area, a woodpecker may end up building nests in the wooden parts of your gutters since it can be hard to come across suitable nesting trees.

Woodpeckers will peck through the tough exterior wood to reach the softer and cozier interior. It’ll happen during mid-spring at the beginning of the breeding season.

In this case, the bird may puncture multiple roosting holes in various spots until it finds that ideal one.

How to Prevent a Woodpecker from Pecking on My Gutters

Now that you better understand why a woodpecker is pecking at your gutters, let’s discuss how you can stop them.

1 – Make Deterrent Noises

You can scare the woodpeckers away by making noises to startle them.

Some electronic devices produce deterrent sounds (such as the sounds of predators) or generate noise at high frequencies (not detectable by humans) for this purpose.

Still, this method may not work in the long-term once the woodpeckers learn the noise patterns.

2 – Set Up Cavity-type Boxes

You can place cavity-type boxes close to the gutters to encourage the woodpeckers to use them for nesting instead.

These boxes are basically ready-made nests, so make sure you choose ones that can fit the woodpeckers visiting your property.

This is a good way to keep the birds away from your house while still providing them with a home.

However, if the woodpeckers are invading your gutter system for reasons other than roosting or nesting, this method won’t be effective.

3 – Install Reflective Materials

Mylar balloons, flash tape, and other reflective materials can scare away woodpeckers by visually disturbing them. So try placing them over your gutters to deter unwanted visitors.

4 – Place Predator Decoys

Plastic owls and other predator decoys can scare away intruding woodpeckers. But make sure you change the positions of the decoy every couple of days so it seems more realistic.

Final Thoughts

The sound of birds chirping in the morning can be pleasant, but not when it’s obnoxiously insistent through the night and day!

If you’re wondering “why is a woodpecker pecking on my gutters?”, we explained all the possible reasons above, along with ways you can stop the annoying hammering.


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