Laura Yuen
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Ever since I shared with you my story of being tormented by a woodpecker, fellow sufferers have been coming out of the, well, you know.

I've received dozens of phone calls and e-mails from readers eager to let me in on their tricks, or simply to commiserate.

But the most disquieting tale came from 83-year-old Carole Rydberg of Plymouth.

She left an ominous message on my voice mail suggesting that truly, I ain't seen nothing yet: "Be thankful your woodpecker was a smaller woodpecker." Click.

When I called Rydberg, she explained that her visitor in 2016 was not a mere downy, but a pileated woodpecker, which Audubon fawningly describes as a "big, dashing bird with a flaming crest, the largest woodpecker in North America."

It was not long after the death of her husband, Roger, when Rydberg had come home from church and heard something tapping at the back of her house. She walked into her bedroom and saw a shaft of light pouring in through her wall.

"I went over, I knelt down, I looked in this hole. But what did I see?" Rydberg said. "This gorgeous woodpecker head with a long beak and a red crown, and he's staring at me like, 'Lady, what are you doing in my nest?'"

The very picture of optimism, she patched the hole with cardboard, and then plywood, but nothing would keep this big brash bird from drilling into her bedroom.

She called the Department of Natural Resources for help. The woman on the phone inquired, "What's your house made of?"

Rydberg: "Cedar shakes."

DNR: "What color is it?"

Rydberg: "Dark brown.

DNR: "Do you live in a wooded area?"

Rydberg: "Oh, yeah, the back of the yard is like a forest. It's all wooded.

"She said, 'I have bad news for you. Your house is like nirvana to woodpeckers. You have their favorite color, their favorite wood, and you're surrounded by trees. You don't have a chance.'"

The DNR woman said nothing would make the woodpecker disappear, other than replacing the siding on her house with a material it could not peck through.

Rydberg got new fiber cement siding, a project that expanded into including new windows and a garage door. More than $100,000 later, the bird finally retreated. "That woodpecker cost me a fortune," she said.

Carole Rydberg with her late husband, Roger, in 2015
Carole Rydberg with her late husband, Roger, in 2015

Provided

Around this time, Rydberg was attending a grief therapy group. Another woman in the group believed, as my late grandmother did, that her deceased husband was watching over her in the form of a dapper red cardinal that would hang out by her house. Was it possible that Rydberg's dear Roger was paying his wife visits in his new incarnation?

"My husband liked pileated woodpeckers, but if this is his idea of a joke — having this woodpecker coming through my wall and into my bedroom — I am not amused," Rydberg said.

So that's Rydberg's woodpecker story. Other sympathetic readers encouraged me to try shelled peanuts, WD-40 or Parsons ammonia.

I didn't get a chance to test any of them. With a shortage of scare tape and other tacky deterrents at the hardware store, I put in an order to Amazon. By the time the items were delivered, the drumming had stopped.

I thought maybe my nemesis had left for good. But one morning my son shouted "Woodpecker!" and pointed through our sliding door.

There it was, pecking our tree in the backyard, one might say precisely where he should be. And that's how I made peace with my woodpecker.

What readers are saying:

Pat Stenglein of Northfield: About 30 years ago, Stenglein's cedar shutters to her bedroom window were battered by a downy. "The crazy solution was a cardboard cutout of a Halloween cat. It was a black cat silhouette with a yowling orange mouth. We kept it in the window and the bird magically disappeared. When we took the cat down, it would reappear. This played out again in the spring. We did move eventually, but not because of the bird. Or maybe it was!"

Carolyn Light Bell of Minneapolis: "You absolutely have to patch the holes," she said. Then she advises to paint cedar siding with insect-repellent paint. For the final piece, hang huge windchimes that clank loudly at the slightest breeze.

Greg Pfeiffer of Bloomington: "We now have round metallic mirrors hanging around the house that have solved our problem. Each mirror is about 3" in diameter. Two are connected together so that they hang about 90 degrees to each other. I hook them on the edge of the gutter so that they catch the sunlight."

Tom Gille of St. Anthony suggested the sound-activated, battery-operated Birds-Away Attack Spider. "When a woodpecker knocks, the spider suddenly drops on a sturdy string with a zipping sound and then wriggles its way back up to reset. We've never actually had to use it to scare birds; we use it to scare trick-or-treaters at Halloween and I can tell you it works! We've even had teenage boys scream and run! But they always come back for the candy."

Daniel Bergin of Minneapolis: "I, too, have a woodpecker banging away at my front portico. At this point, there's a huge hole and I've kind of given up and try to tell myself I can enjoy some urban birding and I'm doing the right thing for the natural world. But I think I never stood a chance."