Wednesday, January 14, 2009
When George and I first bought our wooden house in Fairfield Glade on the Cumberland Plateau near Crossville, TN---we had no idea that there were HUGE woodpeckers in the Glade. We bought our home in 2002 and didn't move here full time for a year. BUT--we'd come on weekends to check out and enjoy our new retirement home.
One weekend, we noticed some small HOLES in our wooden house. UH OH---woodpeckers have been pecking on our house. Yipes!!!! What to do?????? We talked to some local folks only to find out that the woodpeckers seem to know when people are not home and they love to peck on houses up here!!!!
Then, we went online looking for things to scare them away. And we came up with all kinds of options which we immediately put into action:
1. Wind chimes (some big ones)---and we still have 6 sets of wind chimes all around the house since I love wind chimes!
2. Little mirrors nailed on the house beside the areas where the woodpeckers were pecking (mirrors scare them away since they think they are seeing another woodpecker)
3. We strung a big clothesline between trees in the area where the woodpeckers were pecking. On the clothesline, we hung lots of aluminum pie plates --which blew in the breeze. (Imagine what the neighbors thought about us as their new neighbors... ha ha)
4. A fake woodpecker hooked onto the house (which was there when we bought the house--and obviously didn't work by itself; By the way, the people we bought the house from didn't warn us about woodpeckers!!! Guess they didn't want to scare us off! ha)
Other yards had big fake owls or fake hawks hanging around--but we didn't have to get them. George repaired and painted the holes in our house---and we would pray that while we were gone during the week, we wouldn't come back to more holes... Guess what???? Our scare tactics worked!!! We have never (knock on wood) had anymore trouble with woodpeckers pecking on our home.
We do however see other wooden homes with either holes in the wood, or lots of 'scary' things around to scare them off. We only had to leave the pie plates and mirrors up for a few weeks--and now, we only have the wind chimes. I had always thought that woodpeckers were only looking for insects. But--I read that they love to peck their way into homes for a nice roosting place in the winter...
Now to the funny part of this story which luckily did have a happy ending: One time, soon after we bought our home, when we were getting ready to leave and before we had solved the woodpecker problem, we began backing out of the yard. I saw my first Pileated Woodpecker. Can you imagine what I said to George when I saw that monster?????? (It was probably x-rated! ha)... I looked at that bird and told George that if that bird pecks on our home that next week, we'd not have a home left. Talk about being scared!!!!!! You can also just imagine the look on my face when seeing my first Pileated Woodpecker... I'll never forget seeing that big big bird...
SO---after I started watching for and learning about birds this past Summer, I found out that there were not only Pileated Woodpeckers in the Glade---but there were several more woodpeckers. Since, at that time, I didn't know one woodpecker from the next, I had to start studying and learning!!! WOW--what beautiful birds. So far --I have seen and have pictures of FIVE different woodpeckers up here. The Tennessee Bird Book only lists six woodpeckers in TN--so the only one I haven't seen yet is the Hairy Woodpecker. Pictured above is our Pileated Woodpecker. Below are the others.
I love this picture (above) of a silhouette of our Pileated Woodpecker.
This beauty above is in the woodpecker family and is a Northern Flicker. I have not seen any since late Summer. We did have quite a few of them in the Summer/Fall. They generally do not come to the feeders--but feed on insects.
I love the picture above of the Northern Flicker --as he stands up and looks straight at me. Cute, huh???
I love this woodpecker pictured above. It is a Red-headed Woodpecker--and I luckily got his picture on our birdbath. I haven't seen him since --so I'm looking forward to seeing more Red-headed woodpeckers in the spring.
Above is Pete, our resident Red-bellied Woodpecker. Pete has a 'friend' Petunia--who also visits our feeders!!! These two prefer the sunflower and safflower seed to the suet feeder.
After I finally bought Suet and a suet feeder, we now have Downy's visiting us. Maybe we'll get a Hairy this spring!!!!!