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  1. #1
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    Yvonne Joslin
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    Unhappy Injured Downy Woodpecker

    Last night when I got home from a family picnic I went out to bring in my feeders for the night(we have bears visit) I found an injured Femsle Downy Woodpecker under my window.It apparently hit the window but I didn't see where.I went and got a cardboard box and put holes in it. Put suet and water inside and carefully lifted the bird into the box. It tried very mildly to get away but not much.I taped the box shut and put a chair with plastic over it in case of rain.It was too late at night to try to get help of any kind buI thought rest and quiet would be best for it for the night.
    I know a bird rehabilatator I may be able to take her to tomorrow. I'm just wondering if I did all I could for the night . I didn't want to stress her out by handling her too much and I didn't see any blood or injuries and knew there wasn't much I could really do.She couldn't fly for one reason or another or she wouldn't be there at 11:00 PM . I'm wondering now if I should have put a heating pad under the box even though the temp outside was 69 degrees F. I know for pet birds heat is important for recovery but not so sure about wild birds. Any more suggestions?That is if she is still alive and before I try to transport her. Any suggestions would be helpful . Yvonne
    Last edited by rjyj19; 07-04-2006 at 11:37 PM.

  2. #2
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    Jane Jacinto
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    Hope the poor thing made it. Let us know how it goes.
    Jane

  3. #3
    Tailfeather Tailfeathers Supporter!Tailfeathers Supporter! Lovebirdfan's Avatar
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    Hi,
    You were very kind to help the bird, doing your best to make him comfortable. Any update?

    A few things I've learned from working at the wildlife rehab. dept. at our local shelter: A heating pad would have been a good idea, as the first thing they lose is body temperature when they are injured. The pad should be put underneath (NOT INSIDE) the box, and set at a low temperature. There should be a warm side and a cool side in the box so if the bird gets too warm, he can move to the other side.

    One thing I've noticed that most people do is to put the holes at the top of the box. It is a better idea to puncture the holes at the sides of the box, closer to the bird. This should be done before the bird is put inside the box.. I know that should go without saying, but it happens too often that the holes are poked into the box when the bird is inside already, causing more stress and possible injuries. Of course putting some holes on the top of the box is good too-- just wanted to mention the logic behind puncturing the holes on the sides of the box.

    The box size should allow the bird to turn around, but not be too large as the bird could become disoriented and they may try to fly, which would be bad if the bird is injured. (think 'night frights' with our birds)

    A quiet, dark place (out of danger, of course) is the best place to keep the bird until you can get him to a rehab. center.

    If it is nighttime, birds generally don't need food or water, and the water may tip over causing the bird to get wet and chilled.

    Shredded newspaper inside the box would help cushion any injuries.

    Handle the bird as little as possible. This is to prevent further injuries and so the bird does not go into shock. Do not keep opening and closing the box to check on the bird. That is stressful, and again could cause the bird to go into shock. They are wild birds and are not used to human touch, no matter how friendly or quiet they seem.

    Some wildlife rehab centers and shelters have 24 hour pre-recorded hotlines that can give you tips on how to take care of wildlife until you can get them to a rehab. center.

    I think it is a good idea to have the phone number and location of the closest wildlife rehab. center handy. One never knows when we'll need it and it is good to have close instead of trying to find the phone number, etc. when there is an emergency.
    Last edited by Lovebirdfan; 07-05-2006 at 07:29 AM.

  4. #4
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    I hope the woodpecker is doing better this morning. You are very kind to care for it last night, hopefully it was just stunned and will be better today.

  5. #5
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    Thanks everyone for your help and caring for the poor little Downy Female. She is still alive this morning but most probably has a neck and/or wing injury and needs to have more than my help. I have tried to call my local rehabilitator and didn't get an answer,not even a machine. I'm hoping he's not on vacation.I called a place that has a web site called Bird Notes and she gave me another name of someone that would know more about why the other man isn't answering his phone. I am getting ready to call him now. I haven't tried to do much with the Downy as to not stress her but I put a little water by her bill and put suet near her with really no result. She acts like she is still a little stunned. The other places to try to get help for a woodpecker are not very herlpful around here. Most of them will say to let the bird go and let nature take it's course. I can't bring myself to do that. It is so sad because usually my Woodpeckers are very bossy and yell for me to hurry up and get thier food out side and leave so they can eat. I also wonder if she has a nest of babies that are waiting for food and if so ,is the Dad helping them. I did poke holes in all the sides of the box BEFORE I put her in but thank you for posting that because you are right , some people would not think of that. I will keep everyone posted on what happens next. Thanks again Lovebirdfan Jane and boomergirl ,Yvonne

  6. #6
    Tailfeather boomer girl's Avatar
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    what a sweetheart you are trying to find help. Did you call the vets in your area. Our small town vet actally helped a injured pigeon we found once, and he also for years had a woodpecker in his office that someone found hurt and since it could not fly he decided to keep it in his office. His name was Woody and he was a happy bird in the office for years. To me it is worth calling all the vets in your area becuase many vets do take care of injured wild animals along with our pets... I do hope your "friend" gets better and I could never let it go free either knowing that it was hurt.

  7. #7
    Tailfeather Tailfeathers Supporter!Tailfeathers Supporter! Lovebirdfan's Avatar
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    Have you tried this source?: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~devo0028/contact.htm

  8. #8
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    I finally talked with Fred Homer who isn't listed on the rehabilatator listing. He said he did work with birds. I described the way the woodpecker was acting and he thought it sounded like severe head trauma which wasn't good at all.He also said he worked with a vet who decided if the animal could be worked with or if it needed to be euthanized. It was very late in the day and we decided to wait for morning to transport the bird if she even made it through the night. She did make it through the night and Mr. Homer thought it would be best if I took the bird to the vet for his decision as he thought it sounded bad and he is not certified to euthanize. I was hesitant with this vet because I lost two birds that were in his care but he is the only one around that cares for birds without going at least 50 miles. He is 30 miles away and I thought the trip might do her in but she was still alive when I got her there.I had to fill out some paperwork about her and they put her in a hospital holding room until the vet could look at her.I was mistaken that she was a Downy. She was a Hairy Woodpecker; but all the things I learned about birds went out of my head because I was trying to be so careful not to put stress on her by observing too much. That second morning though she was in a different position I could see that her right eye was swollen badly and when I tried to give her a drink I could hear that her nose was stuffy.When her box was shut she would move around inside sometimes and find a new spot to rest.She looked small to be a Hairy but I have veen looking through binoculars at birds for so long that they do look small to me without them.I left her in the vets care and went home. When I got home there was already a message from the vet telling me that she was beyond help and that he was going to have to euthanize her. He said Woodpeckers didn't do well at all in captivity,wouldn't eat or drink and he thought she might be suffering.His voice was the same as when he told me my other two birds were dead and that was the bad part but I guess he was probably right.By the way I didn.t leave her out that first night she was here. The forecast was cooler that I thought so she came inside where it was 78 degrees. I didn't have my heating pad because I lent it to my daughter but I kept her very warm.I still feel bad and worry that she had babies to feed but I haven't been able to find out if that species of bird has a dad that helps. Thanks everyone for your concern and help and I wish this could have turned out better but these things happen frequently Ive heard. Does anyone out there have any good tips for keeping birds from flying into windows? I have loads of decals on mine but only a few were on the window she hit. Thanks again everyone , Yvonne

  9. #9
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    awww, the poor thing. I'm sorry it had to turn out that way. At my grandparents' house in northern wisconsin, they have a lot of birds, and it's not uncommon for a bird to fly into a window, even though they have things like suncatchers and stuff in them. I know of a couple who have broken their necks and have died pretty much instantly...and we've had a couple who have recovered and flew away.

    Interesting that you say not to handle the birds...it makes sense, but every time I've been there and a bird has flown into a window, we've actually held it and kept it warm until it came out of it's stunned stage, and would then want to fly away, and then we'd let it go and it'd just fly away fine. And yeah, usually they're a bit scared when you hold them, but after awhile they relax and sit there and become more and more alert as time goes on.

    like last year, this little guy flew into the window:


    and yeah...he just sat in my hands like that, and I kept still and just kept him warm and after awhile he started looking around a lot and then finally just took off from my hand, and seemed to fly fine...and I hope he's okay now...I assume so anyway.

    we've also had one who we actually had to keep for about a day...and we fed him and stuff, and he was actually a friendly little guy...sat on our fingers and ate stuff from our hands and everything. I dunno if we've just had some very trusting wild birds or what....but that's just my experience with it.

    I guess to keep birds from flying into windows...I guess yeah, the best thing you can do is maybe to put stuff on the windows...have curtains or something, or like suncatchers and stuff....I dunno, maybe tinted windows would help? I dunno, it's hard to keep them from doing that a lot of the time. It sucks though...poor things, I hate when we have one hit the window.

  10. #10
    Brand New Egg zf2's Avatar
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    sounds like you did a great job - at least you can feel good that you gave it a good home for 2 nights! i learned a lot about what to do with an injured bird - thanks for all the good info from everyone!
    again you did great!!

  11. #11
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    Re: Injured Downy Woodpecker

    To answer oihane about the handling of the bird it was because the injury was so bad.I have had quite a few fly into windows and this time I could tell it was different because of the length of time she had to have been on the porch and the way she kept falling asleep even though she was awake when I found her. Also her head kept going off to one side and once I found her on her side in the box. That looked like a Tufted Titmouse in your hand. Very good picture. I have also brought a bird into the house before in a cage to recover. My cockatiel made little sympathetic noises to the bird while it was dazed.I probably shouldn't have had my pet bird around a wild one but that was before I learned much about birds.My Budgie Blue makes one quick high pitch chirp when he sees or hears a bird hit the window I bet he did it that evening when the woodpecker hit .Iv'e been watching and about the latest the woodpeckers come to the feeders is 8:15 PM.So that bird could have laid there from around noon to midnight or 8:15 to midnight.One thing I've found is putting the decals or suncatchers on the outside of the window seems to work better and going by looking at the window from a birds point and seeing what looks like a good place to fly to and putting something there to break up the view.The birds can't tell reflection from the real thing is why they do that. Only thing to remember with that is the reflection might change with the seasons.I also hang hummingbird feeders in the windows outside and I put windchimes there too. The window that the woodpecker flew in to only had a couple of stickers on it because nothing had been bothering it.
    I still have my doubts about keeping a wild bird too warm. This bird was panting when it was hot but the vet called it laboured breathing. Also he said that woodpeckers didn't do well in captivity and bommer girl said one vet had an injured woodpecker for an office pet.So who really knows. I do know heat works for pet birds from experience,My Budgie that died from cancer went right to the heat source and huddled there.
    Now I have another problem because I think a bullfrog in my pond might be eating some of my birds, I'm about ready to disown Mother Nature for awhile. There are also snakes in the pond that can swim and I wonder about that also. But I am enjoying all the parent birds feeding greedy babies right now. Thanks for the compliment zf2, Yvonne
    Last edited by rjyj19; 07-08-2006 at 12:04 AM.

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