woodpecker damage

Tom Savard (tasavard@phy.duke.edu)
Wed, 1 Mar 95 16:56:44 -0500


Late last summer, I noticed that something was damaging my plants. VFT traps
and the tops of pitchers were were snipped off. Holes were poked in the
pitchers. First, I suspected that there was some bug eating the plants, but
I found that the plants weren't being eaten, they were just being poked and
snipped apart. So then I suspected my wife was the culprit. Is she that
jealous of the care and time I devote to these plants? Well, I never had any
evidence for that. I was stumped. So were some of my plants. The damage
continued to occur sporadically.

One bright winter morning I woke to the sounds of a wood pecker searching
for food in a tree nearby. The pecking stopped. Moments later, I heard some
scratching and scuffling on our deck where my poor plants had been laying
dormant for the winter. I didn't get to the window quick enough to be an
eyewitness, but I could see the damage was recent. (One pot was rolling
around on its side!) It all made sense--it was a woodpecker going after the
trapped bugs! I moved what was left of my plants into the porch for the rest
of the winter.

Now that spring is approaching, I need to put my plants outside again. How
do I keep the woodpecker(s) away? I don't really want to build an enclosure
for the plants. I know of at least two species of woodpeckers living near my
house. One variety is large, with a dark body and a red head (of the Woody
Woodpecker variety I guess), and another is much smaller and colored with
shades of grey.

I've seen people use large plastic owls to scare smaller birds away from an
area, but I have no idea if this would keep the woodpeckers away.

Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance!
Tom Savard