What can I do about woodpeckers pecking my house? Do I have bugs?
Male woodpeckers commonly announce their availability and proclaim their territory by “drumming”: rapidly tapping on the loudest and most visible object they can find. Often this will be a metal chimney, down spout, or flashing so the sound inside can be deafening! Discourage these lovelorn suitors by removing access to these attractive spots. You may exclude the birds with garden netting or scare them away by hanging shiny Mylar tape or CD disks near their spot in a place where it will catch the wind and flutter prettily. The combination of shininess and motion will in most cases deter the bird from approaching. You may also simply wait it out. Most birds will only exhibit this behavior for a month at the most. And don’t worry that you have bugs—the birds aren’t feeding, just looking for a date.
What is this bird that is singing at night? It is driving me crazy!
The Northern Mockingbird is so named because it copies the songs of other birds. It does so incredibly well—so next time you are lying awake in the wee hours listening, try to count the number of times the song changes! These are very interesting birds and they eat tons of insects, so they really are good to have around your home. Try to think of them as a loud (but loveable) neighbor. Enjoy (or at least try to) the spring serenade, as this is a hormonally driven behavior that will stop soon.
I found a baby bird. What do I do?
The best thing you can do for a baby that has fallen from its nest is to put it right back in. Contrary to popular belief, the parents will not abandon a baby because it smells like human hands. (In fact, most birds have a very poorly developed sense of smell.) They will however eject babies that are diseased so as not to infect the rest of the brood. If you keep putting a baby in and it keeps getting pushed out, it is likely that the parents recognize that something is amiss with it.
What do I do with a nest that blew out of my tree?
Get out your ladder and place the nest, babies inside, back up where it was. If necessary, place the nest in a small box and affix the box to the tree. If you cannot reach the original nest site, get as close as you can. More often than not, the parents will return and continue to care for the young. As the babies develop and begin stretching their wings, some fall from the nest as they are learning to fly. If possible, leave them alone. The parents will continue to feed and defend their little dare-devil until flight is achieved. If there are cats or other dangers, you will have to step in and place the bird back up in a tree or out of harms’ way.
What do I do with an injured or orphaned baby bird?
Get help! Baby birds need special care and sometimes round the clock feeding. Contact your local wildlife rehabilitation facility, see the contact list below. Remember that these facilities are staffed with volunteers and are often filled to capacity during the spring baby bird season. Be prepared to deliver songbird patients to the facility, as most do not have the resources to make house calls. If you find an injured or orphaned bird of prey, you must have someone assist you with their rescue as you may become injured yourself if you handle them improperly. Consider donating cash or supplies to the organization assisting you. All usually need paper towels, soap, bleach, bath towels of various sizes and blankets.
North Phoenix (and to get contacts for rehab facilities outside of Phoenix)
The Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Adobe Mountain Wildlife Center: (623) 582-9806
Liberty Wildlife: (480) 998-5550