A welcome return visitor

11 Jun

I live in the country and work mostly from home. From the window of my office I look over fields and orchards. Various bird feeders hang from the patio, with mixed seed, peanuts and fat balls. We get a variety of garden birds and some rather rarer visitors. One bird which likes the peanuts and fat is a woodpecker, a male great spotted woodpecker to be exact – I’ve looked it up in the RSPB encyclopaedia of birds. This handsome fellow is male because he has a red cap on his head. On Saturday I managed to get away from the computer and watch a little of the Women’s final at the French Open tennis. There was a loud bang on the glass patio doors and I went to investigate. The woodpecker had unwisely attempted to head-butt the toughed safety glass doors.

He lay stunned on the patio paving looking as though he had just received a left uppercut delivered by Mike Tyson in his pomp. I could tell that he had not broken his neck or wings, but it took a few minutes for him to come round, with lots of blinking of beady black eyes and gasping through sharp beak. If I thought it useful I would have gone to the bird’s aid, but it would probably have found that more distressing than helpful, so I watched and waited and observed him getting his senses back. The cat-flap was locked to stop the cat from getting at the birds, but she slept though the event without troubling to wake.

With a shake of the head and some nervous wing flutter he came round and flew a short distance to one of our apple trees. He hung on the branch for a few minutes, until he was joined by a magpie. Alarmed by the close presence of a larger predatory bird the woodpecker flew off.

Great spotted woodpecker

Not on a tree, he’s found an easier supply of food

He has come to visit and feed for the last two days and seems no worse for his experience.


2 Responses to “A welcome return visitor”

  1. JeriWB June 21, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    I wish I could say the same for the dove that smashed into our bedroom window last spring and broke the outer layer of glass! During that same time, a hawk also started to hang out in our yard and was preying on all the little brown birds that came to the feeder. I’m glad your bird fared better!

    I found you via LinkedIn and am adding your blog to my RSS Feeder.

    • chelonist June 22, 2012 at 7:13 am #

      We do have an occasional visit from a sparrowhawk. The only traces being a few feathers. I have taken a liking to the magpies and jackdaws which visit. They have managed to work out how prise open the lid on the feeder with fatballs. Clever little swines! Ther is a family of wood pidgeons nesting in the red maple tree. They have eaten rows of vegetable seedlings!

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