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Woodpeckers are 7 to 15 inches long, have short legs, sharp-clawed toes and stiff tails. Most woodpeckers feed on wood-boring insects, insects on trees and the ground, vegetable matter, berries.
Woodpeckers hammer on the sides of houses and other buildings to attract mates, to establish and/or defend a territory, to excavate nesting or roosting sites, and to search for insects. Wooden shingles, cedar or redwood siding, metal or plastic guttering, television antennas and light posts are selected as drumming sites because these materials produce loud sounds. Woodpeckers frequently damage cedar, rough pine and redwood siding and some synthetic stucco exterior finishing. Plywood and Masonite are less frequently damaged.
All North American woodpeckers are primarily cavity nesters which excavate their own cavities, but some species occasionally use existing cavities or nest boxes. Woodpeckers defend their territories and keep other woodpeckers away.