British Columbia

Kelowna condominium spends $260,000 to make building woodpecker-proof

A Kelowna, B.C. strata council is spending more than a quarter of a million dollars to put in anti-woodpecker siding on a 17-storey condominium building because of extensive damage from busy woodpeckers.

Contractor is using the world's tallest boom lift to reach woodpecker damage more than 50 metres up

Northern flicker woodpeckers have drilled approximately 300 holes in siding on a 17 storey condominium building in Kelowna (Keith Eisenkrein / Caroline Csak)

The sound of a woodpecker rapidly hammering into a hollow tree can evoke feelings of wonder and curiosity about the natural world.

But having that 'rat-a-tat-tat' drumming echoing through your bedroom at six in the morning is another thing.

"As soon as the sun's up, they're on the side of the building, pecking away at the building, tapping and drumming," said Kris Christiansen, strata president of Kelowna's Centuria Urban Village building.

"That sound travels right though the whole building. You could be laying on the chesterfield watching T.V. or something and all of a sudden you hear this 'bang-bang-bang-bang-bang' and you'd think it's right outside the window, but it could be several storeys up."

Styrofoam and bird nest material litter balconies on the Centuria condo building. (Brady Strachan/cbc)

Woodpeckers have been hammering away at the building's siding panels for several years, said Christiansen.

Now the condominium complex is riddled with more than 300 holes.

"Woodpeckers are pecking through (the siding)  and all the pieces that are falling off are coming down. And then what happens is other birds go in and make a nest," said Christiansen.

Keith Eisenkrein has invented a type of 'woodpecker-proof' wall panelling to deter the birds from making holes into buildings (Brady Strachan/CBC)

"You end up with a lot of bird droppings and straw and all all kinds of different things all over your decks. A lot of people got fed up with it and said, 'you know, I'm not going to even use my deck.'"

The strata council has hired local contractor Keith Eisenkrein to fix the problem..

"The northern flicker is the problem bird," he said. "It sounds like a hollow tree, this type of EIFS wall system — the Styrofoam with the base coat over top. When they tap on it, it sounds to them like a hollow tree so naturally they want to put a hole in it."

Worker are using a 50-metre boom lift to reach the upper storeys of the 17-floor building and repair damage from the woodpeckers (EIFS Armour)

Eisenkrein has invented a kind of metal siding that he says deters woodpeckers. 

He's brought in the world's tallest boom lift   a type of basket crane that can extend to more than 55 metres in height — to reach the upper storeys of the 17-floor condo building.

The total cost to resurface the building is $260,000, according to Christiansen.

"It eliminates that woodpecker problem and it allows people to use their decks," he said. "In Kelowna, the summertime is gorgeous — you want to be outside."