What can be done to prevent or repair woodpecker holes and damage to a wooden structure?

Woodpecker complaints come late in the spring as flickers select someone’s house instead of a hollow tree to excavate a nest or obtain insects in the wood. This drumming not only evokes the strongest of human emotions, but can produce serious damage to a home or barn, especially if a woodpecker is not satisfied with one hole, but bores a half dozen in the siding or eves. Woodpeckers, flickers and sapsuckers have stout, sharply pointed beaks for pecking into wood and a specially developed long tongue that can be extended a considerable distance. The tongue is used to dislodge larvae or ants from their burrows in wood or bark. Because insects seldom infest well-seasoned wood in Colorado, woodpeckers hammer holes to obtain insects primarily during the first two years after house construction. Many woodpecker species also drill holes in buildings to store acorns or look for sap. Most of this building damage occurs between February and June, which corresponds with the breeding season and their period of territorial establishment. Woodpeckers frequently damage cedar, rough pine, redwood siding, and some synthetic stucco exterior finishing; plywood and masonite are less frequently damaged. Woodpeckers can be particularly destructive to second or vacation homes that are vacant during part of the year since their attacks often go undetected until serious damage has occurred. Insecticides or wood preservatives may deter woodpeckers by killing the insects. Prompt repair of large holes may encourage the woodpecker to leave or discourage other woodpeckers because these holes may serve as visual attractants. Holes can be covered with aluminum flashing, tin can tops or metal sheathing, and painted to match the siding. If damage occurs near areas that provide perch sites, eliminate these sites with metal flashing or other materials. If a single board on the house serves as a toe hold, heavy monofilament fishing line or stainless steel wire can be tightly stretched approximately two inches outward across the landing site to exclude the bird. Woodpeckers may also be excluded from damage sites under the eaves by attaching hardware cloth or plastic netting or mesh to the eaves, angling it back to the siding below the damaged area, and fastening it securely so that the birds have no way to get behind it. Another method to secure netting is to fasten it under the eaves, stretch down the side of the house three inches from the siding, and securely attach close to the ground.