Woodpecker (Picidae spp.) damage to houses and buildings is a widespread and locally severe problem, yet the probability and type of damage has never been quantified and related to home characteristics. Woodpeckers excavate holes in homes for a several reasons, mainly for building nest and roost cavities, drumming, and foraging for insects. We examined the external characteristics of houses that were contributing factors in attracting woodpeckers to bore holes in house siding and trim. From March 2001 through April 2002, we surveyed 1,185 houses in the town of Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York. Of the houses visited, 33% had woodpecker problems consisting of either property damage or noise disturbance. The probability of woodpecker-inflicted damage on a house was strongly dependent on siding type. Grooved plywood siding was more likely to be damaged than tongue-and-groove, board-and-batten, clapboard, and nonwood siding types. Probability of damage also increased as the tree density in the yard increased. Interactions occurred between sealant and yard type, and stained houses suffered greater probabilities of woodpecker damage in all wooded yards.

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