Woodpeckers: Satan's little jackhammers
OK, OK. This is a little personal, and as such, I apologize. But woodpeckers are threatening to reduce Dope Manor to dust and put me in a rubber room in the process.
I've been contending with these evil-doers for several years now. It seems that something about Dope Manor attracts them like a politician to a camera. Their knocking and rhythmic pecking never fails to begin at the very worst moment, usually just before I'm waking up or when I'm enjoying some well deserved quiet.
They've banged holes ranging in diameter from pencil sized to large enough to fit a tennis ball, and they've defied everything I've tried to get the unholy feathered demons to leave me in peace.
I've done my research and found that they're not always drilling for insects. A lot of the time it's part of their mating ritual and males are trying to win a mate, since apparently the female of the species is attracted by the most impressive pecker.
(Ahem. Moving along...)
So they favor hammering on surfaces which resonate or produce the most buck for the bang, so to speak. Evidently, the walls of Dope Manor are prime for this purpose.
By the way, these woodpeckers (which I think are downy woodpeckers) are BOLD. I open windows and bang on stuff and yell at them like a lunatic, and they barely move. After thinking it over a few moments, they might hop to a tree a few feet away and just look at me as if to say, "Are you through yet?". Then within a minute after I've gone, they're back at it like a jackhammer from hell.
In my research, I'd found that one Quad City business, Nix-a-lite of East Moline, is a world leader in pest deterrent products, focusing mainly on their patented spike strips which, when installed along various ledges and potential perches, keep pigeons and other critters off of buildings.
There I found that they sell thin foil strips which are supposed to scare off pests such as woodpeckers. They're not cheap, for what they are, so I came up with my own approximation. As it happened, I'd spied a Halloween decoration last year which was a sort of foil spiral, orange on one side and black on the other with a loop for hanging, and tacked it to the side of the house.
I'd also read that these pests are visually attracted by holes already pecked. So I'd picked up a can of this spray foam junk that's used to fill in holes and gaps around the house with the idea of filling in all the holes they'd knocked in the house. You spray it on through a straw and it expands to several times its size and then hardens.
It went fairly well, but was difficult to get on neatly and the foam would expand and ooze and need smoothing which was messy. But I only did one side of the house and didn't get to the areas they frequent which were much higher on the house.
But with the foil thing hung near their prime pecking area and the holes filled, I anxiously waited to see if it would have any effect.
It seemed to, as the pecking disappeared for several months, replaced by the sound of the foil thing scraping against the house. (ugh) I breathed a cautious sigh of relief and crossed my fingers.
But now they're back, and with a vengeance. They start their drumming usually near dawn and at dusk. It must be mating season or something, or they've just gotten used to my handy-dandy foil thingamabob.
Since these tormenters have returned to mock my efforts, they're focusing their incessant knocking on the part of the house where I couldn't fill the holes without an extension ladder.
So today I ran to the store and picked up a different type of this spray foam hole-filler junk and got out the ladder. What I didn't realize is that unlike the kind I used last year, this type wasn't water based and is essentially like foaming super glue.
I'd tried to read the can, but the plastic packaging they had around it blocked this vital information.
If I'd been able to read it, I would have seen that the only thing that even has a fighting chance of getting this stuff off is acetone. This I found out after having already gotten it smeared all over my hands, the can itself, the ladder, and just about everywhere else, including my shirt, face, and hair. I tried searching for some nail polish remover, but wasn't successful.
The label also said in bold, DO NOT WASH OFF WITH WATER.
So I tried to wash it off with water.
But that made it worse. My fingers were sticking to each other and everything I touched. If I bent my fingers it was tough to even straighten them again. It was maddening. It was foamy, gooey, thick, super-glue.
Now I was faced with having to drive back to the store to get some acetone, which wasn't going to be easy when all I could use was a small area of one pinky and the side of one palm which wasn't covered with this toxic, sticky, and rapidly hardening gunk. It took a lot of gyrating and work just to get my keys out of my pocket.
I managed to get back to the store and find the stuff, then got home, and removed the plastic cap on the can of acetone only to find that it had a metal plug thing in the opening. I guessed that it was like the foil over a tube of medicine or something and you were supposed to just poke a hole in it.
So I took a piece of re-bar and started banging on it. It didn't puncture, but I did manage to completely mangle and crush the metal threads that the cap went on before the little metal thing just fell off.
So I continued filling the holes as best I could, with this tar-like gunk dripping and hanging off of everything, and then spent about 15 minutes scrubbing my hands with the toxic and highly flammable acetone. I had to do it about 4 times until my hands were the shade of a ripe tomato, and I still didn't get all of it off.
Why do I relate all of this? Well, hopefully, you might get a chuckle out of my incompetence and the fact that these cute little birds are getting the best of me and driving me crazy.
And the other reason is to make a desperate appeal to the loving public for any advise they may have. I don't want to resort to firearms, but it has crossed my mind, specifically a bazooka.
Any ideas? Suggestions?
Have you had to contend with these infernal beasts, and if so, what did you do? Did it work?