Friday, December 21, 2012

Woodpecker Rescue

One of my Environmental Science students arrived at school Tuesday morning with an unusual package for me. In it was what I believe to be a downy woodpecker who had crashed into a window. He was relatively motionless, but still alive and breathing. We noticed that it looked as if it had hurt its neck pretty badly.

I called several local licensed wildlife rehabilitators, to no avail (I can't blame them, it was the middle of a work day!) Then I decided to call VINS (Vermont Institute of Natural Science) which is located in Queechee, VT. I know that they have connections to help rehabilitate many animals, and are especially famous for their raptors (you can go visit the owls, eagles, and other birds of prey at their nature center!) so I figured they could at least give me advice.

They did better than that! They arranged a transport to get the bird to them so it could get the help it needed, and told me what to do in order to keep the bird comfortable while we waited. I was supposed to keep the bird in a small box, lined with a towel or pillowcase (a pillowcase is better for a woodpecker since they can get their beaks stuck in the loops in a towel.) The box should be kept in a quiet, dark place. When I told them the bird was starting to act more lively, they suggested I open the box outside and wait for 20-30 minutes to see if the bird would be well enough to go back into the wild on its own. In our case, the bird hopped out of the box, but then did not have the energy to go anywhere. It still needed help, so we sent it on the transport to VINS.

Today at around 2pm when I hadn't yet called to check on the bird, VINS called me! I am so pleased with how easy it was to get help from them, and how nice they were to me and how much they care about our wildlife here in Vermont. If you ever have a chance to visit their nature center with your kids, it is well worth the trip. Especially if you go to the Montshire Museum of Science the same day! This is exactly what my friend (of Lunches Fit For a Kid) and I did one Saturday this summer. To give you an idea what it's like, I'll attach some of those photos here.

First, the science museum:

A Rube Goldberg-like machine
Part of the outside play area

Playing with air

And the Nature Center:

She showed us this bird in flight!

Screech owl. They have such an interesting call (we got to hear it!)

Barn owl. So beautiful!

Our national icon

A sculpture that shows how a birds wings move as it flies
(if you aren't standing on it!)
View from the bridge over the nearby Queechee Gorge

1 comment:

  1. Yay woodpecker! And yay VINS!! I so want to volunteer there!