When a bird has been “company” during spine surgery recovery, only to realize he’s been destroying our front porch!

When the “company” of a bird during spinal fusion surgery, has been slowly destroying our covered front porch!

This is my first time starting a post, so please forgive me if I mess up. I don’t like computers and being 65 I never wanted to learn about programming and such. I just use it for bug ID, quilt patterns, and other items to make.

Ok, so I’ve been hearing a sapsucker or woodpecker outside my bedroom window ever since I’ve returned from the hospital 2-3 weeks ago. At first he was a nuisance, yet then I became use to his constant pecking. Lately it appears as there could be 2 birds at it. We’ve been looking at trees for holes and couldn’t find any that were as damaged as a hickory in the front yard. Rob went out a bit ago and he said he found the bird. I was excited to for him to send me a picture of it. Unfortunately he sent me this:

So he’s at the store now getting flashing to cover it up until we can get someone over to fix it. Of course I can hear the bird pecking away while he’s gone. I heard about hanging old CD’s that will reflect the sun when it spins in the wind as a safe and easy idea to scare birds away. So since these aren’t that high up and we have native trees all around, we’ll be hanging CD’s on tree branches! I have plenty of old Country artists that I can donate for the trees!:face_with_hand_over_mouth:
Don’t worry cuz we do love wildlife and encourage as many as we can when we had a 50 ft stream added to our backyard with a mini 1ft drop waterfall that can become a dry bed’pond” or if we keep the water level higher, it’ll be only 6” deep. The grandchildren love to walk in it and that’s one of the main reasons it was built. I was always walking in creeks in our neighborhood when I was very young! I’d spend hours looking for anything I could find. The stream is also all natural, no chemicals and is built to be a breeding habitat for dragonflies! They do visit as the closest park is a short walk from our neighborhood. We’ve had various species of dragonflies and Damselflies visit on bamboo perches we stick in the ground, tall grasses on the edges or the few dead branches placed over the stream. Birds use the branches and the rocks in the creek before and after they drink, to preen themselves so they are comfortable there. We do have a neighborhood Coopers Hawk that does like to get songbirds, yet our stream has a canopy of trees over it so hopefully they aren’t seen. by the Hawk. So far he hasn’t been around that we know of. When our German Shepherd was a small puppy, the hawk came close, yet we were all outside and ran and yelled loudly and waved our arms and scared him away. Whenever we have new young dogs, we’re always outside when he is. The stream has 4 lights in it that shine on certain rocks at night and we also have 3 up lights in trees behind the stream that make the whole atmosphere magical! We can sit on our screened in porch, with a favorite beverage, and listen to the stream as it tumbles lightly over the smooth stones. (Our German Shepherd is named, “Bailey —like the drink😉 We’ve never had it power washed as the owner says all his other clients prefer. Yuck! I want to see algae and snails and toad and frog eggs in the pond. The waters constantly moving and we never turn it off, even in winter so mosquitoes aren’t a problem.
So our front porch looks like:

and Rob will attach the flashing when it’s dryer tomorrow, rain all today. So it looks like time to put up those CD’s!!! This is going to be fun!
If anyone can possibly ID the bird by the destruction seen, I’d appreciate it. I’ll also try to get a picture. Our home is also completely cedar sided, so when pecker holes show it over the garage door, we continue to fill and patch, then paint. We don’t mind as we love where we are and when it’s time to move, these homes sell quickly! Within one day is not unusual and no longer than a week is the max! We’re the “hidden secret” in our area!!
Didn’t know where this should go and it’s just something I wanted to write. At first I did think they were pecking on the house yet the attached porch makes it seem as though it’s a bit further away, even though it’s right outside our bedroom! Time to roundup those CD’s, and I’ll let you know if it works even though the sun won’t shine today.
Enjoy your adventures! Mine are limited close to home for now, yet I’ll be out weeding my moss lawns asap!!! Cathy


I live in a house that woodpeckers visit occasionally too. If they show interest in a spot on the house though, I see it as a sign that the walls might have insect damage. Luckily, I’ve been able to catch any problems before major damage is caused by insects or birds, mostly by working to find entry points for carpenter ants and sealing them out before they can establish a large colony. I’ve never used pesticides for the task.

I’m not an expert in home rehab or repair. Nor do I have any expertise in insect ID, but it looks like you might have some significant damage to your wood due to something like a carpenter ant colony or other wood boring insect. It may be worthwhile to get someone to evaluate those beams to ensure they are still structurally sound. I’d also look to seal any entry points that might give ants a foothold. Good luck!

Edit: I neglected to answer your question about the birds. If you could tell us where you live (state or province is fine; no need to get more specific so you can protect your privacy) then that will help narrow down the options.


I am afraid to say: That Woodpecker would not hack at your porch if there were no insects to be had. So where I live, this would be an indication that you had to do some pest control against wood beetles for the safety of the construction. I don’t know if “they” are as paranoid about “Beetle” your nek of the woods as they are here?


Wow, I didn’t even think about insect damage until I looked to the right side of the holes and definitely noticed rippling effect on the wood underneath the paint! This side is the least observed as we enter the house from the side garage to the pantry or the front door and never see that side of the porch. The times I’m walking on that side if the house is when I’m looking down, not up, for any cool insects and progress of native plants growing by the functional dry creek bed.

So, my husband returned from the store with flashing and I tied up 5 CD’s. Then my husband went to look at the damage and snuck up quietly in the wet leaves underneath. He saw a head inside the hole when he was moving the ladder and took a picture of it. You have to look on the far left hole and it appears to be a Carolina wren by the markings that are barely visible.

We get the nests mostly up inside the porch where there is a slight ledge. The other place is in the back screened in porch up in the rafters. Of course we take pictures every few day to watch the progress. When our youngest daughter was still home, she watched the disturbing sight of a small black rat snake in the nest area in the back screened porch and knew that all 4 babies she had been keeping an eye on, would be dead. :face_holding_back_tears: When she had to go to work, I stayed out there and kept a vigil with my eyes ready for the snake while reading a book. A few times I’d see him stick his head out over the ledge and go back and hide.
Finally he got the nerve to try to get back down. He had to go around the rafters which if he wasn’t attached at either ends where the rafters attached, he’d be down on the porch. So I grabbed my “reaching stick” and a 5 gallon white plastic bucket with lid and stood on a chair in the corner he was approaching. He looked around not knowing where he was to go next and had his neck fairly extended so I took that opportunity to grab him with my reaching stick (it has soft suction cups at each end) so I know I wasn’t hurting him. I had my phone on speaker to my husband while he was at work, so he heard my, “Oh, oh , eek, omgosh! Ewww!” as I placed the snake in the bucket, replaced the lid and put the bucket in the shade. I’d let my husband release him in the park one house away from ours. He released him by a temp dry creek, which fills only when it rains, and in the deep woods. Needless to say, I don’t want to do that again. I thought about putting hardware cloth around the nest with the ends of the short wires poking out away from the nest so it may detour the snake. I’ve seen where people would place soft netting underneath bird feeders/houses and up to four large snakes would be trapped in the netting getting tangled up the more they tried to get out of the nets! A slow death as they suffocated! So inhumane and cruel! I’m sure there are other options more humanely to keep snakes away! I would never do anything to actually kill snakes as I kept a baby black rat snake as a temporary pet in college. When he got bigger or I was returning home for the summer, the young man that brought him to me, would take him back and release him when applicable. No one wanted to room with me!:rofl: Then when a Johnson’s chameleon had 16 babies in the pet store I was working at during college, 4 employees were allowed to take 4 babies home to try to raise them even though the possibilities weren’t good. Well, I bought a bunch of crickets to breed them in another tank to feed to the chameleons. Later I purchased some more to add and being a late night I placed the paper bag of crickets on my dresser and went to bed, forgetting that they are able to chew out! I woke to girls yelling, “who let all these crickets in!” Of course I couldn’t run out of my room and tell them not to kill any because I paid for them, so I scooped up the ones I could find and put them in the cricket tank.

The bird pecked for another 30 minutes then stopped as its approaching nighttime here. So it appears as no flashing nor CD’s will be hung until we can get someone out to look at the damage. If the nest is fairly well constructed and may even have a few eggs in it, we’ll try to relocate it not far from the location or possibly make a nest box to put it in and attach it to the house. That’s probably not the best place so maybe have it hang on wires from the house to a tree a distance away. I’ve never set up bird houses and I’m sure my suggestions are loaded with issues that squirrels, snakes and other critters could get to the birds. Since I don’t want that to happen I’m very open to any suggestions you may have! Seriously I need help on this! We’re in the south (NC) so termites are an issue here and the traps are underground so no way for birds to get there. Plus we never put herbicides, pesticides or anything on the ground because we want “clean bugs” especially for the blue birds that love to dig among the leaf litter for food for their young. Also our man made stream doesn’t get anything added except bio- something to keep the stream healthy. Pond Perfect it’s called.

Well, that’s enough for now and I appreciate your suggestions and we’ll hire folks to replace the damaged wood. I hope if a nest is being built, it’s still in the early stages and she can start somewhere new! I’ll have to find the pics of baby birds using the r/w/b swag bunting that I made and we hung on the front porch as hammocks at night. The gathered fabric to attach the next color to made little hammocks which were so cute with up to 3 birds sleeping in the 4 swags hung. Thanks again all! Cathy


If you can confirm that the nest has no eggs or hatched birds in it, then you could use hardware cloth to prevent the bird from nesting in there. It’s early in the year so the adults should be able to find another suitable place to build a nest. But if there are eggs, then I’m not sure if you could remove the nest and expect the adult birds to find it (an animal rehabber might know). With eggs or hatchlings in the nest, you could consider putting up with them for another month or so. Carolina wrens incubate their eggs for about two weeks. The chicks then grow so rapidly that they leave the nest about two weeks after hatching. So if you see eggs then the nest might be empty in about a month if the adults succeed in raising their chicks.

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Definitely eggs and nestlings overrule any other plans we have for the area as far as fixing the wood. We’ll put up with woodpeckers, no matter how noisy they are, and have the wood repaired when all living things have moved out! Our youngest daughter who is 32, still hasn’t fixed the torn plastic (?) screen in one window of her first floor apartment. Every year Carolina wrens nest and raise their babies there and videos show up on Instagram! :rofl: We can even hear her when one fumbles from the nest to the nearby AC unit and tumbles to the lawn. “Awww…. Opps! … come on, fly UP!” I remind her that the parents are nearly and none need rescuing. I remember the time when I was young and saw an adult robin walking in the grass with one wing extended. Of course being naive I went to try to catch it so I could help her. As soon as I got closer, I was about 7-8 at the time, the ‘stupid’ bird flew up without any problem. I scolded myself by being fooled by a bird, no less. I must have been near a nest and didn’t know it.
Fool me once…. :wink:


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