Thursday, January 27, 2011

Why the Caged Bird Pecks.


Once again my life was called upon for a rescue, partially my fault.  I stood up walking to the kitchen to heat some soup for lunch and heard a gentle thud outside against the window over the deck.  My stomach dropped as I had heard this familiar sound once or twice before during the years I have now lived here.  I looked out and down to the deck floor.  This lovely female downy woodpecker in the video above had hit our dining room window full force and then fell to the deck tucked beneath the railing at the edge.  She was there for about half a minute unmoving with her head bent awkwardly away from her body and down.  When I bent to gently pick her up, she revived suddenly and flew quickly away.  But she flew only a few yards and collapsed on the grass one story below, and then lay sprawled there with wings askew.  My heart was in my throat as I scanned the trees for hawks and as hubby ran down the steps.  He lifted her gently into his hands and brought her back up to the deck and we looked at her closely.  There was no blood and her wings did not appear to be broken and she was able to hold up her head.  Her eyes were half-closed and her beak was open as if panting either in shock or fear.  I brought her to the outside water dish and dropped some water down her beak from my fingers to see if I could revive her a little.  She gulped at the water and stuck out a little red tongue but made no effort to fly again.  

Growing more concerned as she did not resist being held, we put her in the bamboo cage that had been so perfect for use with the frozen and desperate waxwing we saved last year.  She refused to leave my husband's hand as he rested it on the cage floor with his arm barely fitting in the tiny door, and she sat there dozing off and on for about ten minutes in his palm.  Hubby wanted lunch and so we were going to attempt a transfer to my hand.  As we did that she awakened with a start and flew to the opposite side of the cage looking out at the sky and pecking at the bamboo bars.  I took this video quickly as she had miraculously come back to life.  We took the cage outside.  We had to catch her inside the cage to release her and she was a little resistant, but once she was placed on the deck table she looked around for a second or two and then flew high into the far oak trees across the ravine.  We both audibly sighed and smiled.

We immediately ( well after 30 minutes) left to drive up to the nearby landscape place to purchase a half dozen decals for my windows.

Later that afternoon and after the decals were in place, she was back at the suet feeder!  She appeared in very good health.  Her mate also visits the feeder, each day so we hope they will have a nice family this summer.



22 comments:

Peruby said...

Wonderful story! If I'm not mistaken I think that bird really likes the attention of the camera. Could be a wannabe movie star, there.

Pauline said...

best rescue story I've read! didn't your heart fly too, when that bird took off?

Dave King said...

Fabulous story, brilliantly told - and with a great image, too! I empathised with you in this as we have often had a similar experience with birds flying full tilt into our patio window.

Brian Miller said...

aww...thank you for having such a kind heart....

Angie said...

I'm sooooo glad the little woodpecker was okay---that you and hubby were home so you could help her. :) I've had several strikes the last few weeks---I MUST find those decals for my kitchen window. My heart just thuds to my stomach when I hear that all-too-familiar thump.

Celia said...

You all are great rescuers, thanks for the story.

Maggie said...

What a wonderful story. I grew up in a house with giant plate glass windows in two rooms. I hated the sound of a bird hitting one of those windows. Then mother would send me out to pick the bird up and put it under a bush somewhere. Thanks for the stickers.

Hilary said...

Thank you .. and your hubby for caring so much. I'm so glad it turned out alright. She's a lovely little thing.

I heard that same sickening thud the other day, and this was on a window where the blind was drawn. I immediately went outside to have a look at the deck below and saw no sign of anything having landed in the snow or anywhere. When I went back inside and lifted the blind, there was a small splatter of blood on the window. Hate that.

slommler said...

I am so glad you both were there to rescue the bird!! What a moving story!
Hugs
SueAnn

Keats The Sunshine Girl said...

Wonderful rescue and a lovely story

Granny Annie said...

Oh, I am so proud of you! What a beautiful and blessed bird. Once I nursed a tiny baby rabbit to health even though everything I read said it would be a near impossible task it was a glorious day when we turned her back to nature.

Frank Baron said...

I love happy endings. :)

They're resilient creatures aren't they? But that one was fortunate you were around to offer such quick care. Good for you and your hubbie.

Peruby said...

Just read about this product in my newspaper:

http://www.roeder-wd.com/ornilux-bird-safety-glass

One Woman's Journey said...

My morning smile. Happy the rescue was successful.
Little bird - so pleased you had a good nurse and doctor.

Freda said...

What a lovely end to a great rescue - it's sadly not always like that at Dalamory. The birds seem to fly into all our windows at the back of the house, I think it is to do with the shadows of the green trees and too often, the grey skies.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Almost sounds like the bird had a seizure-
I've seen some of those around here too. My cam won't take good close-ups like yours tho!

Kerri said...

You and your hubby are such kind hearted caretakers of your feathered friends. I'm glad your story had a happy ending and the little lady revived so well. The Downys are such sweet, perky little birds.
Beautiful story, Tabor. Thanks for sharing it.

Friko said...

Tabor, I know this so well. We often have birds fly into windows, particularly of the sun room, which is all glass on three sides.

When i find the bird alive, I usually pick it up very gently and wedge it safely into the fork of a tree very close to the house, where I can watch it all the time.

Most of them recover and fly off again eventually under their own steam. Water and food are always close to hand. I am mostly worried about cats, that's why I lift the birds up above ground.

Teri said...

I don't think downys are the sharpest tacks in the box. We had a similar rescue in Dec. As my husband said, "Anything that beats trees with it's head for food had to hit hard to make it loopy".

MaggieGem said...

Great rescue story Tabor! You and your hubby did a fine job in saving one of natures fine critters!

ds said...

I am so glad your woodpecker friend is okay! You and your hubby deserve medals (but a POTW will do--congratulations!).

Several weeks ago, before winter was all ice and snow, I saw a robin lying on the ground behind our house in such a way I was sure it had been beheaded (it hadn't). Made the husband go deal with it (I was trained very well not to touch fallen birds--too well), but when he got there, the bird had flown away. Talk about relief!
Double kudos to you.

Lori said...

What kind hearts you and your husband must have to do this...I swear my heart flew up when the bird took flight...it put a smile on my face to read a happy ending. Congrats on POTW mention at Hilarys!