Woodpecker deterrent device...

Hi there!

This year the woodpeckers are very persistent. In addition to waking everyone up, they are damaging the house which is shingled in a kind of wood that the birds really love to hit on.

So with that in mind, I'd like build something to safely and humanely scare the birds off.

I think that a simple Arduino-type device controlling a loud buzzer or other noise making device should be sufficient. The idea is to make it battery powered, and simply attach it to the outside of the house/storage sheds. I will need to make about four or five such devices, two for each side of the house and then three more for storage buildings, sheds.

I suppose there are four parts to this project as I see it.

  1. A buzzer board with it's own battery and probably some sort of mosfet circuit to connect it to the arduino sensing and triggering output to sound said buzzer. This thread (http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=146635.0) has some pretty good recommendations for buzzers which are loud enough. Maybe this board at 85 db would fit the bill and be easy enough/cheap enough to work with?

  2. An arduino type microcontroller for the sounding of the buzzer.

  3. An enclosure that is somewhat water / weather proof for all the above.

  4. Writing the software for all of the above. This tutorial seems easy enough to follow: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/KnockSensor

...and this tutorial for the sampling of the woodpecker's knocking: https://programmingelectronics.com/how-to-make-a-secret-knock-detector-to-trigger-anything-with-only-an-arduino-and-a-few-cheap-components/

I think the adafruit datalogger board (https://www.adafruit.com/products/2796) is probably the easiest and most convenient board to work. I've not had much luck with the cheap data/SD card logger shields you get off Amazon for the standard Uno, but I do have plenty of Uno's lying around.

Q1: I'm thinking that I could use a datalogger type board to sample the pecking of the woodpeckers and then use the waveform to act as a trigger so when the woodpeckers start pecking the controller would sense that and fire the buzzer for a period.

Q2: Sensor question: What kind of sensor would most reliably work in that capacity? A piezo sensor or a microphone?

Would something like this be more sensitive and/or specific to detect the woodpecker knock? I imagine it would be easy enough to slip in between the wooden slates of the siding?

Thanks for your thoughts and input!

bdefdist: Thanks for your thoughts and input!

Must be a Worldwide problem that has existed for some time, I presume home owners dont just stand by and let their houses be pecked to bits.

So what systems or measures have been developed\deployed in the past, electronic and passive ?

Hi,

Hmmm, Not sure about Woodpeckers; some birds become quickly acclimated to loud sounds.

Fortunately Woodpeckers are unusual here. But when they hit on the metal roof of my barn, they are amazing loud!

I presume home owners dont just stand by and let their houses be pecked to bits.

Woodpeckers are not stupid. They are not pounding there heads against trees or houses because the like having headaches. They are looking for food - things that burrow under bark or into infested trees/wood homes.

Clear up the infestation, and the woodpeckers will move on.

PaulS:
Clear up the infestation, and the woodpeckers will move on.

I had in my mind that there must be a reason for Woodpeckers doing all that Woodpecking.

Maybe if you got rid of the Woodpeckers then the unrestricted ‘infestation’ would eat your house to bits anyway.

The things you learn on electronic forums …

PaulS: Woodpeckers are not stupid. They are not pounding there heads against trees or houses because the like having headaches. They are looking for food - things that burrow under bark or into infested trees/wood homes.

Clear up the infestation, and the woodpeckers will move on.

So wrong! The male woodpeckers are preparing to find a mate for the new year. Our local birders group leader has offered the solution for several years and those who have used it swear by it.

Look for: https://www.amazon.com/Birds-away-Birds-Away-Attack-Spider/dp/B000J535QC.

I don't know how an Arduino can be involved, but maybe it can.

Paul

Depends on which ones you are dealing with. In our area (Seattle) some houses have a real issue with Northern Flickers - those suckers can drill a hole through the side of the house in a couple of hours about 2-3 inches in diameter. (Sometimes they just find things to rattle on to claim territory or if they are after bugs, but if they have decided to make a nest there you are in trouble). We have not been able to figure out exactly what is the criteria for them to decide to build nests in a house - some houses they leave alone, others I have seen up to a dozen holes drilled in the side of the house (then the starlings move in, run the flickers off to drill a new hole). One thing we have found that seems to work is a "big scary spider" - not sure where my wife found them, they are about 10 inches long and noise activated - you hang them from a string along the house where the flickers want to drill and when they start drilling, it activates the spider. It drops down the string it is on 3 feet or so and starts making noise and waving the legs as it crawls back up the string. Usually that discourages them. We had one male though that would not give up. Drilled a hole in the side of the house just above the ceiling in my computer room. Ran him off, patched the hole and next day he drilled a new hole (cedar siding). We put a rat trap inside the house on the ceiling and got all his tail feathers - didn't stop him - he was back again the next day. The trap got him that time. We have tried peaceful co-existance with them - putting up a flicker house in the tree, but they start to build a nest (we fill it with shavings) then the starlings show up and run them off, taking over the house. THIS is similar to the spiders we have (not sure where she got them).

@bdefdist: if you are near the Seattle area, see if you can hire gpsmikey to help out.

Should be great fun to watch!