Woodpecker Nesting in Siding

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A woodpecker has hammered through the wood siding on the east side of our house--in the back--wayyy up where we need a longer ladder than we have to reach the hole. He was made a perfect round "birdhouse" hole. It took him a lonnngg time, like a few seasons. (He shows up usually when I am not at home ...so I forgot about him for a long time, and what was a few bare wood spots became a good-sized hole.) This house once had termites, so I am not unhappy about having a woodpecker around, but not altogether happy about the hole in the house either.
My questions:
1. What is between the siding and the drywall? Is there insulation there, usually? (This house was build around 1960, in a suburb.) Any chance he might come right through he drywall?
2. What are the downsides of letting him nest there? (Moisture getting in the walls, I imagine .. there is a good sized eave/overhand, but rain is not always completely vertical, so I see how it might be a problem). I do like animals and am not anal about coexisting with them, but I want to be a responsible homeowner, too. We will eventually want to unload this place on somebody.
3. It is time to get a big ladder, as we really need to clean the gutters ourselves, and remove some ivy that has grown up fairly high. This house is a typical split level, and the hole is in the wall of the master bedroom. What kind of ladder should we get, how long, for all purpose stuff like gutter cleaning and examining woodpecker holes and such?
4. If you had a woodpecker family nesting in your house, what would you do? What are my alternatives? We had bats living in the top of the attic for a while, having flown in through a kind of vent up there, and we called bat guy who put up screening while they were out so they moved on. That was kind of different because their droppings came down on the patio. The woodpecker nest is on a side of the house where nobody ever goes. Which come to think of it is probably why the woodpeckers like it there.
Thanks for any suggestions.
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I would leave him. Proly not the greatest thing for the house, but proly not the worst, either. If he has made a nest, it's proly pretty protected from the elements, so no real leaks should occur. I love woodpeckers. They are so neat, cute, and odd. More like a privilege to have him. You can always fix the hole later, when he leaves.
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Maybe the reason he made a hole in the first place is termites or other insects.
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I thought I mentioned that--when we bought this house eight years ago, the inspector said there was evidence of past termite damage, and that the owners had a contract with a termite service. I thought I renewed it, but apparently not.
That said, this looks like a house.
I guess I will find out as soon as I get a ladder long enough to take a look.
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Proctologically Violated wrote:

I tend to agree, but I would check with the local bird people (you may find one at your city parts or university or bird food store etc. Identify the specific type of woodpecker and determine their nesting habits. I would want to maybe provide a better, more acceptable, spot for them - it.
Avoiding nesting time or a critical survival time for them, you may be able to cover the hole by mounting a nesting box over it.
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Joseph Meehan

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Good advice, all. I really like the idea of a bird house over the hole! I think the first step is a ladder so I can look in there and see if it has nesting materials in it, or if we have termites up that high. (I think the latter is unlikely. Especially since, yesterday, I heard, instead of the drumming, a whole bunch of cute little peeps like the birds "talking" to one another. I imagined the woodpecker bringing the family to inspect the house. Or mate, or something. There was more than one bird in that hole, judging from the peeps. It was very cute. (These are small woodpeckers, with just a bit of red on their heads, Flickers, I think is the name. They come to the nearby bedroom window and seem to be eyeballing me from time to time!)
Thanks to all, you too, Joann!
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Actually, Flickers are on the large-ish side when it comes to woodpeckers. Here's a picture of a Flicker excavation (handily shows a Flicker, as well): http://jrscience.wcp.muohio.edu/birds/ohio_birds/Northern_Flicker_Nest_Cavi.html
The perspective isn't great in that picture, but Flickers can approach the size of small crows.
If your woodpecker is small, you might want to consider Downy: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Downy_Woodpecker.html
According to the info I have, Flickers do not reuse nest cavities, so if yours is a Flicker, it probably won't return after completing this cycle, if it's nesting.
Jo Ann
cybercat wrote:

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Okay, I know why I thought that. We have one of these that comes every year in the fall and pounds a dead tree we need to take down. These are really lovely birds, their colors are so pretty.
I looked him up,and must have simply assumed the ones nesting in the house were the same sort. They aren't, they are clearly smaller.

From my memory of when one of them perched just outside the window and eyeballed me, this might be the type I have. The only other time I really see them, is when I go out to look at the hole and several fly away in a blur.
I will try and get a better look and report back. I like my little woodpeckers and I'm really glad my husband isn't getting radical about the damage to the house.
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Want to have some fun?
Find a three-sided aquarium (good place to look is near apartment house dumpsters).
Line the three (remaining) sides with reflective film. Fashion a wooden lid. You now have a bird-feeder. Mount this new bird feeder in your breakfast room window. Open top and put bird seed on the bottom. Replace top.
Little birdies will now come into your house to have their breakfast while you enjoy their company over yours. Their reflections don't bother them a bit.
I don't know what kind of seeds woodpeckers are partial to, but that shouldn't be hard to discover.
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What a cool idea!
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This does sound like fun, but to have any hope of attracting woodpeckers, you'll have to try suet, not seeds. Woodpeckers are meat eaters (that's why they peck on siding in pursuit of insects).
Jo Ann
HeyBub wrote:

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I really like woodpeckers, too. In fact, since your husband isn't getting riled about the siding, you might want to try to talk him out of removing the dead tree, if it's not a hazard. Woodpeckers love dead trees and having one will help attract them (as you've seen with your hammering Flicker).
Don't know where you live, but if it's approaching cold weather, it's possible the woodpeckers are using their hole in your home for a roost to help stay warm. That's often the case when you find several together. They tend to be somewhat solitary otherwise.
Jo Ann

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message

Psssst.....just between you and I, nobody says "proly" any more. It's not cute. It's not creative. It's not cool. It's nothing.
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Psssst...just between you and me, "just between you and I" is grammatically incorrect.
Jo Ann
JoeSpareBedroom wrote:

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You're right.

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"proly" proly saves a shitload of typing. Ackshooly far more efficient than contractions, such as "you're"... Oh, it's usenet, bruhs, usenet....
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Your typing is atrocious. "Proly" achieves nothing.
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Sure got a rise out of you. Proly you should look into the reasons why this is so. Group Therapy worked for me. Did wonders for my sex life. Turns out sex cures virtually all problems known to man, except for bein broke. And then, iffin yer goodlookin enuff, can proly cure DAT. Sex don't help STDs, tho.
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First thing I would do is determine whether the woodpecker is indeed nesting. Some woodpeckers make a pretty good-size hole in search of food (and will work on it repeatedly if it's been a productive spot), and some make holes to cache things (e.g., acorn woodpecker).
Woodpeckers nest seasonally, to raise young, not for general housing. If you determine it really is nesting, find out the nesting cycle and when the final brood of young have fledged, cover the hole.
Jo Ann
cybercat wrote:

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Modest correction: It's not: "He has made a perfect round..." It's SHE has made a perfect round..."
Humans are one of the few species that build the nest....
I'd talk to your local bird experts and I'd try to find a way to both ease my concerns AND accommodate the bird. She's just trying to get by, same as the rest of us.
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