Saturday, July 28, 2012

No fatal attraction

Our studio was added onto our house sometime in the sixties, and like the rest of the house, has plenty of windows.  The north facing windows are high above the ground and overlook our little ravine and stream.  The south window received that standard of mid-century modern, a picture window.  Flanked by two additional windows.

(Grass like shredded wheat this summer.)

All the years we were weavers there weren’t any bird vs. window incidents of note.  Perhaps because there were sunflowers and other goodies in the garden below the window birds stopped short of the big window.

But last summer, as Jan was quilting, she heard a major THUMP behind her, at the window.  She went out to look, and found a woodpecker on the ground.  Alive, but completely comatose.  She couldn’t leave him.  Purrl would have put some puncture wounds in the fellow, just to carry him to the door and let us know he’d moved up from dropping live chipmunks at our feet.

She was standing in the front yard, holding the poor fellow, when I came home and went straight for the camera.

She stood and held him for perhaps half an hour.  Woodie opened his eyes once, then settled snugly in to recover by hand.

There was nothing to be done that we knew of, bird concussions not in our repertoire. He needed to go somewhere to recover.

How to put him in a tree was a problem.  Woodpeckers cling to the sides of trees and don’t perch, as far as we know.

Jan put him first in the tulip tree.  It’s still a bush and dense, like a nest.  He seemed quite comfy, but it was not beyond Purrl height, so she took him out back to the cottonwood tree and put him in a comfy crook.  She went back to check in a quarter hour and he was gone.


  1. I think if the collision doesn't kill them outright then they will recover given time and no predators. I've rescued a stunned bird or two. Also plucked a juvenile out of the pond one day, totally waterlogged, cold, too deep to get itself out and it was clinging to some water plants. I dried it off with a towel and put it in a box with a light overhead for warmth. When it started stirring I put the box outside and it flew off.

  2. I hate that bird in a window thing, usually kills them. Luckly the wood pecker is built for head trauma. You need shades or stickers on the window.

    What a beautiful flicker, I could feel your heartbreak for the bird. I'm guessing he is fine.

    cranky old (bird loving) man

  3. I love the pictures of your friend Jan cradling that little woodpecker in her hand. The old proverb - 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush' came to mind as I was reading your blog post Joanne. With such gentle treatment by your friend he just has to recover. I do so hope that he did.

  4. I wonder if the bird wasn't a juvenile. It seems small for a full-grown flicker. I'm glad you helped it to survive.

  5. How lovely. We hear the odd thump as well. Fortunately all of them have survived - though perhaps with headaches. Do birds get headaches?
    Thank you for this lovely post.

  6. The little guys have hard heads. The MIL had a pheasant fly right through the plate glass picture window of her house. After it was trapped and taken back outside it flew off like nothing happened.

  7. These are a rehabber's nightmare...depending on the severity of the bump we have a 6-8 hour window (no pun intended)to inject dexamethosone. If not, the brain swells and poor old birdy goes to heaven.
    I hope your woodpecker (which looks like a Northern Flicker)was OK.
    Jane x

  8. Poor little Woodie, I'm glad he survived.

  9. Birds have had a few collisions with our windows also. It is always sad to find one injured or dead on our deck. It looks like your woodpecker made it through the trauma because of your's and Jan's kindness.

  10. Your house looks beautiful. We always have pigeons flying into windows. They leave an angel shape on the glass.

  11. He actually hit the back window and landed on the sidewalk 12' below. I thought it was dead, it was spread eagle on the ground. The sidewalk is shaded and it was a chilly day. I held it for about 30 minutes and ended up helping it cling to the cottonwood when I realized the magnolia was too close to the ground. I kept an eye on it there as well and went to move it when the sun had swung around enough for it to no longer be i the shade, but by the time I got out to the tree to move it, it had flown. He lives! I rescued a hummer on the front porch once, too. Between the huge foot he fell behind and the cat trying to get it, it was close!

  12. Poor little honey! I'm glad ou kept him safe until he was well enough to fly off. Beautiful bird!