RE: woodpecker damage

John Phillips (
Wed, 1 Mar 95 15:08:03 CST

In Message Wed, 1 Mar 1995 14:05:36 -0800, (Tom Savard) writes:

>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
Hi Tom, Two solutions I've seen are 1) the plastic or ceramic owl, 2) long,
thin strips of cloth hanging fron string or fishing line strung as a border
in front and in back of the area in need of protection and over the plants if
the area is wide enough to require additional protection. These strips
aren't dense or thick enough to provide any real shade, but scare the birds
into thinking they wouldn't be safe trying to fly through them.
Good luck, my neighborhood squirrels have chosen my large VFT pot as the
place to store their acorns for the winter.
John Phillips
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