Woodpeckers Keep Destroying Photographer’s Trail Cameras

Pesky woodpeckers are giving a photographer a hard time after the critters keep attacking and destroying his trail cameras.

Keith Cannataro who operates AZ Desert Critters — and is also a magnificent wildlife photographer — says woodpeckers damaged six cameras in a single day and he doesn’t understand why.

“I don’t know why they didn’t do this earlier as I’ve had trail cameras out in this area of the desert behind our house for at least a year before,” Cannataro tells PetaPixel.

Damaged trail camera
Woodpeckers damaged this trail camera.

“The first woodpecker attack this year was in March and I sent two cameras for repair. In April, I had one camera sent for repair because of a woodpecker. Then it was June with four cameras and right after shipping those another was damaged and sent for repair, making five total for June,” he continues.

“In July, one more just sent for repair. So that gives a total of 15 times a trail camera was damaged by a woodpecker.”

Stopping the Woodpeckers

Cannataro has tried numerous ways to thwart the vandalizing woodpeckers.

“I first added bird spikes to the tops of the cameras. Very probably at least one was damaged by a woodpecker and that might be when I added the spikes to the sides,” he says.

“Apparently that didn’t solve the problem. They might just be perching on a spike and doing their damage. So I started to read up on what woodpeckers don’t like. I added shiny Mylar strips to attach to the spikes or hang down above the camera and flap in the wind.”

Shiny Mylar strips.
Shiny Mylar strips.

“I was told by someone who had a woodpecker problem and they used peppermint oil around their camera and peppermint is a smell that woodpeckers don’t like,” Cannataro continues.

“So now I have cameras with spikes, Mylar, and peppermint oil and in spite of that cameras were still pecked.”

Rubber rattlesnake
A rubber rattlesnake guards the trail cam.

Adding to his cameras’ defense, Cannataro purchased rubber rattlesnakes and bright shiny pinwheels as well. This seemed to work until it didn’t when the woodpeckers returned and damaged more cameras just a few days ago.

Coyotes and Battery Pack Power Cords

As Cannataro searches for a solution to the woodpecker problem, he also has to keep an eye out for coyotes who also like the taste of his camera equipment.

“A couple of young coyotes chewing the power cords from battery packs/solar panels to the trail cameras,” explains Cannataro.

“They ruined two power pack cords and two solar panel cords. I had to come up with a way to help protect the cords. This was last June before woodpeckers started doing their damage.”

Sleepy bobcat
Some of Cannataro’s wonderful wildlife photos.


More of Cannataro’s trail camera escapades can be found on his YouTube channel.

Image credits: All photos by Keith Cannataro.