This afternoon, we noticed a downy woodpecker on the ground under our feeders. It was strange, as woodpeckers generally don’t like being on the ground. We watched it for a while, but it became obvious that it couldn’t fly back up to the relative safety of the trees.
My daughters researched what to do. They put air holes in a cardboard shoebox and cushioned it with a towel. Next, T gently picked up the woodpecker with a washcloth and put it in the box and brought it inside. It is very chilly and wet today, so a warm, dry box was important for the bird to have any chance of survival.
Then, we needed expert help. They looked online for wildlife rehabilitators. There are none in our county who do bird rescues and the nearest one in a neighboring county wasn’t at home. Next, they called one that is affiliated with Cornell, daughter T’s alma mater. They were able to assist, so E and T headed for Ithaca, about an hour’s drive. (I stayed at home with
baby toddler ABC.)
I’m happy to report that the woodpecker stayed cozy in the box until arrival. It looks as though he is having problem with one eye and his neck. They will treat him if they are able and humanely euthanize him if they can’t help him, much better than either freezing to death or being eaten by a cat. They are going to send a postcard with the outcome and I will update at that time.