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Longmont Rec Center looking to city to fix woodpecker damage

Posted at 10:39 PM, Sep 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-10 07:13:47-04

LONGMONT, Colo. -- Living in Colorado, we understand that damage to buildings due to weather can happen. What we don't necessarily plan on wildlife-caused damage. In Longmont, the recreation center is hoping that they can fix the damage from some angry birds.

“It does look like hail damage,” said Longmont Recreation and Golf Manager Jeff Friesner.

Unnatural holes in part of the building aren't the cause of hail, however. They are brought on by another force of nature.

“We’ve seen the woodpeckers at work,” Friesner said.

That's right — woodpeckers.

"It is kind of crazy, they’re pretty aggressive animals. We’ve tried many things to get rid of them from owls to things that flap around in the wind," said Friesner. "None of that has worked."

The rec center has been around since 2002, but this isn't the first time the birds have been poking around.

“Everything was fine and not only did people come to use it but we developed some bird friends,” Friesner said.

About seven years ago, they put the hardened stucco on the top half of the building, but it only pushed the birds farther south on the building.

“A couple years after that the woodpeckers came back and started pecking their holes lower in the structure,” Friesner said.

So they put it before council to do it again in the form of a $117,000 on the capital budget for next year.

“The stucco hardening is the only thing that we’ve found that has kept them from doing damage,” Friesner said.

And they hope it is high on the pecking order.

“(We) have very high hopes. It is happening more and more. I’d say we have well over 20 holes,” Friesner said. “We don’t water to get inside the building and do damage to the wood floors in the gym or in the walls themselves.”

The city council will decide on the budget in late October.

“It’s been kind of funny in my career in recreation. My education is in dealing with people, but when it comes to dealing with prairie dogs and woodpeckers and bats, it’s given me a whole new education,” Friesner said.