Outdoor PestsBirds

What Are Woodpeckers Afraid Of?

What Are Woodpeckers Afraid Of?

Woodpeckers are one of the most iconic birds in North America.

They can be seen pecking away at trees, searching for food, and making loud noises.

They are known for their loud calls, drumming with their beaks in tree trunks, and feeding on insects.

Woodpeckers can be a nuisance to homeowners, as they can cause damage to siding and other outdoor surfaces.

Several methods of deterring woodpeckers do not require expensive repairs or installations.

This article will introduce several ways to repel woodpeckers from your property. In addition, we will discuss how to make your property less attractive to woodpeckers and some available deterrents.


Woodpeckers are fascinating creatures and are often seen in a variety of habitats.

But it can be a nuisance to homeowners, as they may create large holes in the side of a house or other structures.

Here we will outline several methods that have proven effective in discouraging woodpeckers from nesting and foraging on your property.

So let’s get started!

This next part of the article will discuss the facts of which the woodpecker is afraid. We will also include some other repellents that can be used to repel woodpeckers.

Then, in the end, there will be a summary followed by frequently asked questions about the things the woodpecker fears.

11 Effective Methods To Repel Woodpeckers

Effective Methods To Repel Woodpeckers

Woodpeckers, a type of bird typically known for its distinctive and loud ‘tap-tap’ sound, can be found in forests worldwide.

Woodpeckers may be a common sight in many backyards, but they can also be damaging.

They can cause cosmetic and structural damage to trees, homes, and other wooden structures.

While it’s impossible to eliminate woodpeckers’ activity from your property, you can take steps to discourage them.

1. Plastic Owl or Hawk

Plastic Owl Or Hawk

Putting a plastic owl or hawk on the rooftop of your house will scare away woodpeckers.

Woodpeckers are territorial birds that stake out certain areas as their habitat. If they find a nice spot with plenty of food and nesting resources, they will happily stay there and cause damage by pecking holes in the siding or eaves of your home.

Woodpeckers fear owls and hawks because these larger birds will compete for space and prey on them if given a chance.

Plastic replicas of owls and hawks act as deterrents when placed near trees, barns, sheds, homes, or other structures where woodpeckers gather.

2. High-Pitch Noises

High-Pitch Noises

Woodpeckers have incredibly strong beaks that can drill into even the toughest surfaces, so it may seem like nothing scares them.

Surprisingly, though, there are some sounds that woodpeckers find quite frightening.

High-pitch noises and loud bangs can scare woodpeckers away quickly. They especially dislike noises made by machinery and human voices.

Loud music is also an effective deterrent for woodpeckers when combined with a motion-activated sprinkler system or fake predator decoys.

3. Natural Great-Horned Owl

Natural Great-Horned Owl

Woodpeckers are naturally curious creatures but also afraid of predators that could threaten their safety.

The most common predator for woodpeckers is the great-horned owl.

When woodpeckers hear a sound that resembles an owl’s call, they become startled and try to find a safe place to hide.

4. Use Onions

Use Onions

If you are wondering what woodpeckers are afraid of, consider using onion as a repellent.

Onion has been used as an effective way to repel woodpeckers because it is naturally irritant for them.

When placed near the affected area, the smell will drive away these birds and prevent them from returning.

To use onion as a repellent, slice onions into thin pieces and place them around windows, doors, and other areas where woodpeckers may be seen or heard.

Be sure to replace the onions daily to remain fresh and strong-smelling.

5. Scare Them With Reflection

Scare Them With Reflection

One way to scare away woodpeckers is by using reflection.

Reflection works by scaring the birds off with its image or sound bouncing back at them.

This method works best when you hang metallic streamers or panels from your roof or trees that reflect light and movement around your house.

You can also place shiny objects near the area where the bird has been seen to scare them away with reflections of their surroundings they are unfamiliar with.

6. Use Peppermint Oil

Use Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is an effective natural deterrent because it has a strong odor that woodpeckers don’t like.

It’s also easy to come by, so there’s no need to look for special items or expensive solutions.

To use peppermint effectively, place some of the oil around areas where woodpeckers are likely to land on your home.

You should also consider spraying peppermint oil near entryways and windowsills since these are commonly targeted areas for these birds.

To maximize the effect, try mixing the oil with water in a spray bottle and apply it directly to the surfaces that are being pecked at by the woodpecker.

7. Hit a Pan

Hit A Pan

One thing that scares woodpeckers is hitting a pan with a spoon near the spot where the woodpecker is pecking. The noise will startle the bird, causing it to fly away.

To make this method more effective, it’s important to keep making noise every time the woodpeckers return.

This might involve hitting pans and rattling objects such as aluminum cans during different times of the day until the bird stops coming back altogether.

It’s also possible to use sound deterrent devices that emit ultrasonic sounds designed specifically for scaring birds away.

8. Catnip Oil

Catnip Oil

Catnip belongs to the mint family and can be used to repel woodpeckers.

In addition, catnip comes in an essential oil form and is also available as a plant. So, what are woodpeckers afraid of?

When sprayed on wooden surfaces, it effectively deters woodpeckers.

Additionally, planting catnip around your home or garden can help keep the pesky birds away.

Studies have shown that besides woodpeckers, it has also been found to keep other pests, such as ants and flies, at bay!

9. Cinnamon Oil

Cinnamon Oil

Luckily, there is a natural way to repel woodpeckers without resorting to harmful chemicals.

Cinnamon oil effectively repels woodpeckers by masking the scent of food sources that attract them, such as insects in dead wood that are sap from trees.

Additionally, the smell of cinnamon is strong enough, although it may cause discomfort for the birds themselves, prompting them to leave the area.

To use this method most effectively, mix water and a few drops of cinnamon oil and spray them directly on surfaces where you noticed woodpeckers’ activity.

10. Citronella Oil

Citronella Oil

While there is no scientific evidence that it repels the birds, many people have found success in using this strong-smelling oil to confuse and overwhelm the sense of smell of woodpeckers.

Citronella has a strong scent that woodpeckers don’t like, and it’s easy to use around the home. For example, you can purchase citronella candles or torches that you can place around your property.

Or, you can make your repellent by mixing some citronella oil with water in a spray bottle and spraying it on wooden surfaces like fences and walls.

This will create an unpleasant smell that will deter the woodpeckers from returning.

11. Dryer Sheets

Dryer Sheets

One way to keep them away is by using dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are used in the laundry room to reduce static and add a pleasant scent to clothes after washing.

However, these same sheets can also provide a strong enough smell that it’s offensive and unappealing to woodpeckers, which will keep them away from your home.

Place the dryer sheets around the area where woodpeckers gather. Then, ensure that there are great dryer sheets, so the smell is strong enough for them.


Woodpeckers are remarkable birds that can be found worldwide.

Though they might seem intimidating, they are quite timid and afraid of many things, such as natural predators and netting, reflections, essential oils, and many more.

Implementing some tips above can effectively repel woodpeckers from your property and prevent damage to trees and buildings.

However, it is important to remember that these measures should always be taken cautiously; never use anything that could harm or kill birds.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Woodpeckers Attracted To?

One food source that many woodpeckers enjoy is peanuts.

Peanuts can be offered in various ways to attract woodpeckers; whole or shelled, smeared on trees, or placed in small dishes near bird feeders.

Not only does this provide nutrition for the birds, but it also provides an enjoyable activity that they love!

What Are the Enemies of Woodpeckers?

In adulthood, the most prominent threat to woodpeckers is predation by feral cats, bobcats, foxes, hawks, and coyotes.

However, they may also be threatened by owls or eagles at times.

In addition, young woodpeckers often find themselves under attack from snakes.

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