Deterring pesky woodpeckers and getting off mailing lists

QHow do I discourage woodpeckers from drilling holes in my house? I have had the golf-ball-sized holes filled, but the birds keep coming back.

- M.B., Deerfield, Mass.

AThe woodpecker problem gets worse every year, says Linda Cocca, natural history information coordinator at the Massachusetts Audubon Society. She recommends covering the "drilled" area of the house with a large sheet of plastic. Tack the plastic at the top and let the bottom blow in the wind. Woodpeckers will not have good footing on the plastic, and the movement of the plastic will dissuade them.

Ms. Cocca says that although the birds can get used to scare tactics, another option is hanging several 6-foot-long mylar streamers 10 inches apart over the area.

If woodpeckers are looking for shelter, placing a nesting box near where the bird is drilling may help. Plastic owls, rubber snakes, and mothballs do nothing to deter woodpeckers. The Massachusetts Audubon Society Web site:

QHow do I get my address removed from the lists of companies offering all sorts of unwanted credit via the mail?

- F.C., Portland, Ore.

ASuch credit-card and home-equity-loan offers are junk mail, or third-class mail. You can get your name taken off such lists by writing to:

Mail Preference Service

Direct Marketing Association

P.O. Box 9008

Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

You will be deleted from the list they distribute to member organizations.

You can also call the customer-service department of your credit-card company and tell them not to distribute your address to other companies.

Readers: Pose your questions and we'll seek out experts on home repairs, gardens, food, and family legal issues. Send queries to the Homefront Editor, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail

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