Wildlife watching is one of the fastest-growing activities in the United States. However, most people, when they think of wildlife watching, like to have a little distance between themselves and the wildlife. Sometimes the wildlife becomes a problem, either by hammering on the side of the house, digging a den under the front porch, or eating all of your brand new landscaping plants. This is when wildlife becomes a nuisance. Birds that are considered a nuisance in Virginia include:
- European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)
- English (house) sparrow (Passer domesticus)
- Pigeon (Rock Dove) (Columba livia)
Under Virginia state law, these species can be killed at anytime and in any manner that is legal under state and local laws (It is NOT legal to trap wildlife live and move it to another location.) These are the only species this applies to and a permit or hunting license is required to use lethal methods on other wildlife that becomes a nuisance.
Woodpeckers are usually a nuisance when they are banging on a gutter or house siding. In the spring, especially, these birds can be quite the drummers as they ring out their invitation for a mate or warn other males that they have staked out a territory. Whenever a woodpecker becomes a problem, the first thing every homeowner should do is have their house inspected for insect infestations. Sometimes woodpeckers are pecking through your wood siding to feed on grubs, termites, carpenter ants or carpenter bee larvae. Take the warning seriously! If you are sure there is no insect infestation, then it’s a strong bet that the male woodpecker is just showing off!
There are four species of woodpeckers that are the usual culprits here. The downy, red-bellied and red-headed woodpeckers are the smallest of the four and can cause damage, but not nearly to the extent that Virginia’s largest woodpecker, the pileated woodpecker, can. At just over 16 inches tall, this bird can cause extensive damage to wood-sided houses. The solutions below are useful for all woodpecker species. Please remember, all woodpecker species are protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Act and it is against the law to harm the birds in anyway.