If you live in a house with wood siding—or in a log cabin—you might need protection from a little-recognized but destructive avian threat. “Woodpeckers cause millions of dollars in damage each year to homes and buildings across the United States,” says Jim Tassano, a pest-control specialist in Sonora, Calif. That damage typically results from the birds hammering to find food, to make a nest, or to attract a mate.
Killing the birds isn’t legal because all woodpeckers in the United States are protected by law. Also, inflatable owls, fake snakes, and similar devices rarely work against persistent woodpeckers.
Now, technology comes to the rescue. Tassano invented the Birds-Away Attack Spider, a battery-operated, sound-activated device that some homeowners may choose to install beneath their eaves near places frequented by woodpeckers. When the dinner-plate-size gadget detects a loud noise, such as a woodpecker rapping, it quickly drops down its 18-inch string and makes a racket that scares away the avian ne’er-do-well. Then, the device climbs back up the string to await the next rapper. Tassano recommends that homeowners install several of the “attack spiders” that he sells.
“At first glance, [the attack spider] might seem unusual, and even comical, but customer loyalty proves that it works,” Tassano notes. His company, Sophron Marketing, also sells a device called The Screw Up for installing attack spiders and other things, such as holiday lights, in high places.
Written testimonials available at Tassano’s Web site suggest that the Attack Spider is indeed effective, if not selective. Customers report, with varying degrees of glee, that the device has terrorized pets, deer, children, and unsuspecting package-delivery men as well as rappers.