Golf Course Management

APR 2013

Golf Course Management magazine is dedicated to advancing the golf course superintendent profession and helping GCSAA members achieve career success.

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research Placing metal sheeting over a pecked area on building siding may offer protection from continued damage. These metal barriers work best if installed as soon as damage begins. Occasionally the birds will move over to an unprotected spot and the protected area must be expanded. Aluminum fashing is easy to work with to cover damaged sites. Metal sheathing can be disguised with paint or simulated wood grain to match the siding. Some frightening devices will work, but only for a short time. Fake hawks, owls, snakes and cats are generally considered ineffective as repellents. Plastic twirlers, windmills, aluminum foil, plastic strips, bright tin lids and pie pans have been used with some success, especially if put in place soon after the damage starts. Stretching refective Mylar tape strips across a damaged area or letting them hang down is an alternative to aluminum strips. Large rubber balloons with owl-like eyes painted on them will also work for a short time. Woodpeckers can be very persistent and are not easily driven from their territories or selected pecking sites. For this reason, visual or sound types of frightening devices for protecting buildings — if they are to be effective at all — should be employed as soon as the problem is identifed and before territories are well established. Visual and sound devices often fail to produce the desired results, and netting may have to be installed. Expensive high-frequency sound-producing devices, taste and odor repellents are sold that claim to be objectionable to woodpeckers. Research tests have not shown them to be effective. Loud noises such as hand-clapping, a toy cap pistol, and banging on a garbage can lid have been used to frighten woodpeckers away from buildings. Such harassment, if repeated when the bird returns, may cause it to leave for good. Sticky or tacky bird repellents such as Tanglefoot, 4-The-Birds and Roost-No-More, placed in bands with a caulking gun can be effective in discouraging woodpeckers if applied to wood siding and other areas of structural damage. The birds are not entrapped by the sticky substances but dislike the tacky footing. Some of the sticky bird repellents will discolor painted, stained or natural wood siding. Others may run in warm weather, leaving unsightly streaks. The tacky repellents can be applied to a thin piece of pressed board which is then fastened to the area where damage is occurring. No toxicants are registered for woodpecker control. wooden-base rat snap traps can be effective in killing the offending birds. The trap is nailed to the building with the trigger downward alongside the spot sustaining the damage. The pan or trigger is expanded with a piece of cardboard and is baited with nut meats (walnuts, almonds, or pecans), crunchy peanut butter or suet. If multiple areas are being damaged, several traps can be used. Once the woodpeckers have been discouraged, frightened away or killed, the damaged spots on buildings should be repaired by flling in the holes with wood patch or covering them to prevent woodpeckers from being attracted to the damaged site at some future time. References 1. Knight, J.E. 1997. Coping with snakes in Montana. MontGuide 9617 AG. ( OutdoorsEnvironmentandWildlife/MT199617AG.pdf) Accessed March 10, 2013. 2. Knight, James. 2000. Coping with bats in Montana homes. MontGuide MT 200001. (http://animalrangeextension. Accessed March 10, 2013. 3. Knight, James. 2008. Wildlife damage control. In: Manage your land for wildlife. Montana State University Extension Publications, Bozeman, Mont. ( store/Products/Manage-Your-Land-for-Wildlife__4508. aspx). Accessed Jan. 11, 2013. 4. Knight, J.E., R.A. Dolbeer and S.R. Craven. 2003. Mammalian wildlife damage control. In: R. Stuckey and K. Barker, eds. Integrated Pest Management. Council for Agricultural Science and Technology, Ames, Iowa. 5. Marsh, Rex. 1994. Woodpeckers. In: S.E. Hygnstrom, R.M. Timm and G.E. Larson, eds. Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Internet Center for Wildlife Damage. Online ( Accessed Jan. 11, 2013. V v v The research says ➔ Because golf courses offer wildlife a place to live in what is often an urban setting, they also can attract wildlife pests such as raccoons, bats, snakes and woodpeckers. ➔ Because most other methods are only temporarily effective, the most logical way to stop raccoon damage is by trapping them in a sturdy live trap cage. ➔ The only efficient and permanent way to eliminate bat problems is to bat-proof the building where they are roosting. ➔ To discourage snakes, modify the outdoor environment to make it unattractive to them; eliminate rodents and seal openings in buildings to prevent snakes from entering buildings. GCM Jim Knight ( is a professor and Extension wildlife specialist at Montana State University. He specializes in practical wildlife management and conducts seminars, workshops and on-site training for golf course superintendents across the country. He is particularly interested in hearing from superintendents about their best techniques for wildlife management. Lethal control methods After federal and state permits are obtained, April 2013 GCM 99

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