David E. Steiner

Retired USAF, Teacher, Dad, Grandfather, Curmudgeon

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I read last month’s article by Weldon Lee about Downy Woodpeckers with great interest. According to that article woodpeckers are our friends. But as far as I’m concerned they’re one of the breed of pests that make my life miserable every April, when they start drilling holes in my house. True, the villains are Hairy Woodpeckers, but the distinction is lost on me when “nature’s tree surgeon” starts doing an exploratory operation on my house.

My house is in two parts. The older section is native pine which has been in place since 1919 and has a hardness factor just short of diamond, but the other half is cedar and only about 20 years old. It’s nice and soft and is considered by the woodpeckers to be the perfect medium for nest building. They drill a hole about four inches across and once through the outer layer they strike gold in the form of insulation, which they apparently regard as the quintessential nest material.

I am often not here for much of April, so when get back I look around for the latest holes in my house and for the past several years I’ve not been disappointed. Then I have to cut a piece of wood to fit, stuff the hole with insulation, fit the wood in and seal it with caulking. I now have four such patches on my house and frankly I’m getting pretty annoyed with nature’s gift of the woodpecker. A few more years of this and I‘ll have a polka-dot house.

Wildlife is one of the great benefits of living in our mountains and I do my bit; I have hummingbird feeders and seed feeders and even a salt lick for the deer and elk. Several coyotes and rabbits have our house on their regular rounds because they know we throw our scraps out the back door for them and we’re always happy to see them. (I don’t count the dark gray shepherd/husky mix with a white face and a collar. It runs loose in my neighborhood and if you know to whom it belongs I’d be pleased to hear from you) But I refuse to share my house with pine squirrels, who seem to have a secret route to my attic, or with woodpeckers. It would be different if we could coexist in peace, but I draw the line at drilling holes in my walls.

I have decided to fight back. Certainly this problem isn’t as vexing as having a piece of roof blow off or the septic system backing up, but you either live with a problem or you look for a solution.

I’ve asked several people if they know of ways to discourage the woodpeckers. Some have suggested cloth strips dangling from the eaves. That seems to be worth trying. Others suggest fake owls, so I bought two of them and will hang them from the eaves as well. If you have a sure cure please let me know; I’m open to suggestions. But if I were a Hairy Woodpecker and had found the perfect nest, I don’t think I’d be much discouraged by cloth strips and fake owls or much of anything else. I may be willing to fight, but I think I’m probably in a losing battle.




© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner

Allenspark Wind Columns:


Why Allenspark?

Going Riding [August, 1985]


Used Cars

Peace and Quiet [1986]

Liberals & Conservatives

Going to the Movies

The Screened Porch

The Beginning of The Season

The Weather

The Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The End of The Season

The Gift of Time

The Beavers

Addresses [1987]


Watching the Trees Grow

Postal Rates

Changes in Estes Park

Square Dancing at the Pow Wow

Back to the Hilltop Guild Bazaar

The Solstices

Bird Feeders


The Estes Park Hardware Store [1988]


Limousine Service

A Memorial Service

A Hummingbird


A Hiking Trip

The Estes Park Public Library

Wild Life

Riparian Rights [1989]




Mountain Friendliness

A Motorcycle Trip

Satellite Television

“Weaving Mountain Memories”

Hotel Rates in the Old Days

The Price of Propane [1990]

The Front Range Almanac


Modes of Transportation

Miller Moths

My 50th Column

Modern Conveniences

Rock Climbing

On the Death of Otto Walter, Postmaster

Otto’s Memorial Service

A Big Owl Pot-Luck Dinner

A Whine About Telephone Service [1991]

After the Persian Gulf War

Some Changes in the WIND

The Trip to the Mountains

The Mountains in the Summer


Of Dogs, Music, and Children

Muhlenburg County

To My Grandson

The Sale of Longs Peak Inn

World War II  [1992]

Murphy’s Law and the Computer

The South St. Vrain Canyon


The Hazards of Volunteering

Crime in Our Valley


On the Death of Charles Eagle Plume

Can We All Get Along?

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

Lost Horizon [1993]


Rumors About a Visit by the Pope


More About Fences


The Visit of Pope John Paul II

Forest Fires

The New Sewage System

The Snow Pool

The Good Old Days [1994]

The WIND’s 20th Anniversary

The Bunce School

The Shooting Gallery

The Estes Park Museum

Our Government

U.S. West Takes a Hit

The Year of the Hummingbirds

A New “Yield” Sign

Growth in Allenspark

Private Telephones?

The Salvation Army

Creation Science [1995]

Devolutionizing Big Government



Fort D.A. Russell

Domestic Terrorism

Old and New

Barney Graves

Life in the Wilderness

What’s In a Name?

Arthur C. Clarke


The Estes Park Trail-Gazette Columns:

July 1983


Estes Cone

Johnny Grant

Observations in Estes Park

The Bath House


The Sutherland’s Ice House

How Old is Charles Eagle Plume?


Christmas Trees

Tree Murder

Mountain Driving


Mail Boxes

More About Mail Boxes

“Are you related to ....?”


An Accident

The Wild Cat

A July Reunion

A Visit to Baldpate Inn

Opening Cabins


The Times, They Have Changed

Death and Transfiguration

The Population Explosion

The March of Time

Faith-Based Social Services

Looking for Pitch

Recent Writings I

Recent Writings II

Recent Writings III

Recent Writings IV

Recent Writings V

Recent Writings VI



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