Knocked out cold near Lois River, this pileated woodpecker was lucky; not that he saw it that way. Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society president Merrilee Prior was called and found him returning to consciousness but still groggy.
Back at PROWLS he was placed in a strong cage, big enough to allow him to bang vigorously on a large, thick piece of fir bark, which he soon began doing with such vigour he knocked the whole kennel off the tabletop with great uproar. He had a keen appetite and took time off from banging to consume mealworms, pellets, peanuts and berries.
In nature their favourite food is carpenter ants and they can make large rectangular excavations, a foot or more long, as they bore deep into the wood.
By the next day, given his strength and determination, Merrilee decided he was ready for release and took him to Lois River, close to his parents’ territory where he will hang out over the winter until ready to start a family.
First the cage door was opened. The woodpecker slowly looked out, finally taking off for a nearby apple tree, and then quickly moved onto a cedar, then high up into an old large fir, finally returning to the apple, which he began to eat.
The best thing for a concussed bird is put them in a covered box and call PROWLS. Do not assume a return to consciousness indicates total recovery.
Even if they do wake up on your deck, it’s a shot of adrenaline from fear that allows them to fly away, only to pass out again. A second recovery in nature is not safe because, still groggy, they are vulnerable to attack.