Friday, June 1, 2012

A Sad Day

Yesterday, my nephews and niece were playing outside when they came across a juvenile male Hairy Woodpecker. He was clinging to the base of a tree in the yard, and from his odd behavior and labored breathing, we gathered he was either sick or injured. We left him alone for a bit...

I went out to check on him later, and he had fallen to the ground, had his wings spread out, and was clearly having trouble. Since bugs were buzzing around him and he seemed like he wasn't going to make it, I thought I'd at least try to make him more comfortable. I wrapped him in a towel and brought him inside, holding him to keep him warm. I also read online that you could try to feed injured or sick woodpeckers a solution of 1 Tbs. salt and 3 Tbs. sugar dissolved in a quart of warm water, so I made that up and tried to give him some of that, but he wouldn't really drink anything.

He died a few minutes later.
It was a sad day...

We originally thought this was a Downy Woodpecker, due to its tiny size. But after studying the field guide and looking back at the pictures, I believe this is a juvenile male Hairy Woodpecker. Hairy Woodpeckers are almost identical to Downy Woodpeckers (the smallest North American woodpecker), but Hairy Woodpeckers have a longer bill (it's just about equal to the length of the head), whereas Downy Woodpeckers have bills that are much shorter than their heads. Downys also have black bars on the white outer tail feathers. This is a juvenile because the cap is an orangish-red (which is kind of rare- normally it's just red) and is on the crown of its head rather than on the back. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to comment - I love hearing from you. If you can help me out with identifying any of these mystery birds or correct any mistakes I've made in identifying the others, I would so appreciate it! Happy Birding!