Birdwatching Canada

A voice for the northern birds

Walloping Woodpeckers

Work crews in a Texas city have been busy replacing more than 20 woodpecker damaged light poles, at a cost of more than $30,000. The city considered replacing the wooden light poles with steel beams, but the cost would have doubled.

The poles, installed in 2002, were planned to have a life expectancy of at least 25 years.

The birds carved holes more than 12 feet long within the poles, providing nest areas for woodpeckers, hawks and flying squirrels. The cavities apparently weaken poles and make them subject to falling down in high winds or ice storms.

A biologist for the Wildlife Department said woodpeckers damage utility poles for three main reasons — setting up territories, attracting mates during breeding season and constructing a nest cavity. Woodpeckers also chase insects that invade outer portions of the older poles.

Instead of spending $30,000 to replace wooden poles with more wooden poles, perhaps the city should just install attack spiders.

At 18" (47 cm) the Pileated is Canada's largest woodpecker

At 18" (47 cm) the Pileated is Canada's largest woodpecker

An enterprising entrepreneur has invented the Birds-Away Attack Spider. It’s a battery operated, sound activated device to be installed where woodpeckers are a problem. When the dinner-plate sized gadget detects a loud noise, it drops down its 18 inch string and makes a loud noise that scares away the bird. Then the device climbs back up its string to await the next victim.

Testimonials on the website report, with varying degrees of glee, that the device has terrorized pets, deer, children and unsuspecting package-deliverers as well as woodpeckers.

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Filed under: Woodpeckers, ,

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