Woodpeckers

Did You Know?


  • The northern flicker is the most common member of the woodpecker family in Colorado.
  • Woodpeckers are classified as migratory, nongame birds and are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
  • Most woodpeckers feed on wood-boring insects, insects on trees and the ground, vegetable matter, berries or tree sap.
  • Northern flickers have black spots on a tannish-white breast and belly. Males have a black or red mustache from the base of the beak to below the eyes.
  • During the early spring, woodpeckers hammer to attract mates, to establish and/or defend a territory, to excavate nesting or roosting sites and to search for insects.
  • The birds especially like to hammer on wooden shingles, cedar or redwood siding, metal or plastic gutters and light posts because these materials produce loud, hollow sounds.
  • Drumming is most common during early morning and late afternoon and usually ends by July 1.

Tips for coexisting with woodpeckers:


  • Trying to drive woodpeckers away involves using visual repellents and loud noises.
  • Woodpeckers are persistent once a pecking site is established so scaring them off requires immediate action.
  • Prompt repair of holes may encourage woodpeckers to leave and may deter other woodpeckers.
  • Hawk silhouette mobiles may be successful in deterring woodpeckers. Owl silhouettes have been shown to be less successful.
  • Hanging plastic strips, reflective pinwheels and pie tins may also discourage them.
  • Placing cavity-type nest boxes on buildings in the vicinity of flicker damage has shown some success. Once established, nesting woodpeckers defend their territories and keep other woodpeckers away.