Newsletter April 2010

Fun Animal Fact of the Month
A Woodpecker can peck 20 times per second. 

Inspirational Quote Of the Month

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

Bill Cosby

Welcome to Critter Comrades the Got Wildlife? Monthly newsletter. We hope you enjoy it! This newsletter is for you, if you have any suggestions, questions or topics you would like us to cover please email:

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The Birds- Woodpeckers, Starlings and House Sparrows 



Woodpecker Control NY and NJ
The Downy Woodpecker

Spring is in full swing and the birds are out and about.  I love waking up in the morning to the sweet song of a Robin or Bluebird.  But I can definitely do without the pecking of the Woodpecker on my siding.   That pecking is known as Drumming.  In the spring, Woodpeckers will peck on a variety of resonant objects, such as a hollow tree or dry tree; aluminum siding, metal roofs, gutters, drainpipes, the trim and facia boards of a wood, brick or stucco building.  They will drum just about anywhere in order to proclaim their new found territories or to attract mates.  And if you have Cedar Shakes or clapboard or any type of wooden building, you could be in for a lot more than just the drumming.  Woodpeckers will use those types of materials to create small cluster of holes where they can perch.  They will also drill larger holes into wooden buildings to create roosts and nests.  These holes are only slightly wider than the bird.  They seem to prefer a hard outer shell and soft inner cavity, which they usually find in a dead tree or cedar building.  They will drill into the insulation, in which they’ll hollow out their nest or roost.  Woodpeckers often create several holes before settling down to business.  Nesting holes are typically excavated in late April – May. Roosts are usually created in the late summer through the fall as they prepare for winter.   If you are currently having any issues with Woodpeckers, please don’t hesitate to contact us at  We have many preventative solutions to ensure that your wooden structures are protected.

Woodpeckers are beautiful animals that range in size from 7 – 19.5 inches in length with brightly contrasting colorations, depending upon the species.  There are 200 species of Woodpeckers.  There are 6 types of Woodpeckers most commonly found in our area, the Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied sapsucker, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Northern (a.k.a. “Common”) Flicker and Pileated Woodpecker.  Woodpeckers are diurnal, with peaks at dawn and dusk. Some Woodpeckers migrate. The Downy, hairy, red-bellied, and pileated woodpeckers remain in New York all year. Flickers in northern New York migrate, but those in the southern regions remain. Woodpeckers do not hibernate.    Woodpeckers eat insect pests, such as carpenter ants, woodboring ants, beetles, bark lice, wasps and carpenter bees.  The Northern Flicker feeds on ants on the ground.  The other woodpeckers feed on trees.  You will find Woodpeckers living in open mixed woods with dead trees, woodland edges, orchards, rural, suburban and urban areas with trees.  Woodpeckers will mate April through June.  They may have 2 to 3 broods/year.  Their eggs will hatch in 12 to 18 days and they typically have a clutch size of 3 to 7.

The Woodpecker

  • The simplest solution is to live with the noise. Padding placed behind the area where the birds drum will soften the noise. The drumming will stop.
  • Hang strips of aluminum foil or mylar tape (3–4″ wide, 4 feet long) mirrors, aluminum pie tins, or a handheld windmill (kid’s toy) in the area that’s been damaged. The strips need to hang freely so they can blow in the wind. Brightly colored wind socks can be hung at the corners of the building. Hawk or owl models and scare-eye balloons can be mounted over the site. Models that move in the wind are generally more effective.
  • To seal a hole in siding and stop more damage: cover with flashing (aluminum sheets) soon after damage has begun.

The Starlings

The European Starling
The European Starling

I can’t help it. Every time I see a flock of Starlings I think of Alfred Hitchcock’s popular movie, The Birds.  It always amazes me to see this massive flock of birds moving in tandem.  Starlings have been known to gather in the hundreds of thousands, even up to one million Starlings in one flock.  When they gather in the masses they can be quite disturbing from the intense noise that they emit to the droppings that they leave behind.  They smell bad and are corrosive and slippery to walk on.  Additionally, their droppings can promote the growth of fungus that causes histoplasmosis, an airborne disease that affects people.   You may find them nesting in attics, under eaves, and in soffits and other openings of buildings.   These “feathered bullets” can cause plane crashes.  They do this by either colliding with the plan (as in a large flock) or by getting sucked into the engine, which is what occurred in January 2009 when that US Airways plane landed in the Hudson River just west of the West Side Highway and South of the George Washington Bridge.  Starlings may get into and contaminate livestock feed, grains and fruits.  They may transfer disease from one livestock facility to another.  They may also take over nesting sites of native songbirds and wood ducks.  And if sites are limited, Starlings may severely hurt the populations of these native birds.  Got Wildlife? has many solutions for removing Starlings from unwanted places.  Please give us a call at 877-Fur-Find and we would be happy to assess the situation and provide solutions.  Additionally, here are some things you can do as a home or business owner to prevent them from sticking around:

  • If anyone’s feeding the starlings, persuade them to stop.
  • Clean up spilled grain.
  • Store grain and bird seed in bird-proof containers or structures.
  • Use bird-proof livestock feeders: flip-top pig feeders (constant banging keeps starlings uneasy); lick wheels for liquid supplements; auto-release feeders for high-protein rations.
  • Livestock feed that’s compressed into cubes or blocks larger than 1/2″ across are too big for starlings to swallow. Avoid 3/16″ pellets because starlings eat them six times more quickly than granular meal. And don’t feed your livestock on the ground—that’s like setting a place for the starlings.
  • Starlings really like those high-protein supplements, so mix the supplements into the feed thoroughly to make it harder for the birds to pick it out.
  • Delay feeding livestock until late afternoon or nighttime, if possible.
  • Feed livestock in a covered area, such as a shed, which is less attractive to the birds.
  • Starlings are attracted to water. You have two choices with pools, troughs, and other containers that catch water: either drain them, or keep the water level out of the starlings’ reach. Do that by keeping it low enough so they can’t dip in easily while perching on the edge and deep enough so they can’t stand in the bottom.

The starling is a dark chunky, muscular bird. It is distinguished from other blackbirds by its short tail and its longer, slender bill. They are approximately eight inches long with long wings and a short squared tail. Starling plumage varies depending on the season. In winter, the bird displays a highly speckled iridescent coat and a dark bill. In summer, the bird’s coat dulls and has far fewer speckles. Starlings are very aggressive and will drive native birds out of their territory, much to the dismay of local bird watchers. Starlings are omnivores. They eat Seeds and fruits (native and cultivated), and insects— especially grubs, which are essential during breeding season. They will gladly feast on every orchard and berry crop. They eat livestock rations, picking out the high-protein supplements mixed into the feed. Starlings often contaminate more than they actually eat. They’ll eat garbage, too.  You will find Starlings in urban, suburban, and rural areas that offer nest sites (holes in trees, buildings), and foraging areas (parks, lawns, fields, pastures, livestock facilities, dumps).  They mate early to mid spring.  Their eggs are hatched in 11 to 13 days and they typically lay between 4 to 7 eggs.


I know, birds are supposed to prefer nature over our homes, but the House Sparrow (as the name indicates) loves to live in urban areas.  In fact, they thrive in urban areas.  The house sparrow prefers to nest in man made structures such as eaves or walls of buildings, street lights, and nest boxes instead of in natural nest sites such as holes in trees.  House sparrows are often a nuisance in urban areas like manufacturing and food processing plants.  They sometimes nest in gutters and drainage pipes clogging them and creating massive backups and extensive water damage.  They will even nest in machinery which can create a significant fire hazard.  Their feces buildup can lead to structural damage from uric acid in droppings, plus the bacteria, fungal agents and parasites in the feces also pose a health risk to humans.  And if you love bluebirds, watch out, the house sparrow has been known to evict them from their nests, even terminate them and their babies.

The male House Sparrows have black throats and chest patches with light cheeks and a brown nape. The female has a plain brownish chest and a dull eye-stripe. The House Sparrow is actually a member of the weaver bird family and not a true Sparrow. Weaver birds create intricate nests relative to their size, the largest nests in the bird world. Their legs and toes are favored for branch perching and their short conical bills are ideal for seed cracking. Their diet consists of seeds and grain, as well as fruits, vegetables, human table scraps and insects. They are boisterous, intelligent birds who roost in noisy flocks on branches of city trees, ivy covered walls and under eaves of houses.  The House Sparrow is a monogamous species, typically mating for life—though pairs often engage in extra-pair copulations, and lost mates are quickly replaced during the breeding season. Their clutch size is 5-6 eggs and hatch 9-16 days after being laid.

If you have house sparrows that are becoming a nuisance, we would welcome the opportunity to assist.  Just shoot us an email at and we will set up a time that is convenient for you to take a look around and provide solutions.

Please visit us at

Got Wildlife?
Is a Proud Sponsor of
at the Museum of Hudson Highlands
Saturday, April 24th 10 am to 3 pm
for more information please visit

Mohonk Preserve. Saturday May 1st. Spring Bike Check and Ride 10 am to 1 pm.  Saturday May 15th. Early Morning Birding for Beginners from 6:30 am to  9:30 am. Sunday May 16th. Spring Wildflower Walk from 2 pm to 5 pm. Friday May 21st. Toddlers on the Trail; Wildflowers and Critters from 10 am to 12pm.  Sunday May 23rd. Family Forest Romp from 10 am to 12 pm.  For more information please visit

Museum  of Hudson Highlands. Every Sat. & Sun. at the Wildlife Nature Center, “Meet the Animal of the Week” 1:00 pm & 2:30 pm.  Saturday April 24th .  Earth Day Celebration and Rummage Sale from 10 am to 3 pm.  Saturday May 15th . Wildflower & Heirloom Vegetable Sale from 9am to 1pm.   For more information please visit;

Weinberg Nature Center. Saturday April 24th. Earth Day Green Fair from 12 pm to 5 pm.  Saturday May 8th. Waking Up Hibernators & Newly Returning Migrants; Nature Adventures from 2 pm to 3 pm.  Sunday May 23rd. 2010 Spring into the Green Eco-Fest from 11 am to 3 pm. For more information please visit;

Beczak Environmental Education Center. Saturday April 24th. Earth Day Celebration from 10 am to 2  pm.  Sunday May 23rd. Catch of the World from 1:30 to 3:30.  For more information please visit;

Nature Summer Camp information to follow shortly in a separate mid-month newsletter. And for some Wildlife fun all year round visit: – located in West Orange, NJ —located in Sussex, NJ The Bear Mountain Zoo located in the Bear Mountain State Park, NY