Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society treats injured red-breasted sapsucker

Red-breasted sapsucker

SORE SHOULDER: A young, fledgling, red-breasted sapsucker was found near dusk in the middle of Padgett Road near Valley Building Supplies. Possibly it had been snatched out of the nest by a crow that dropped it on the road.

A woman driving by noticed it, easily picked it up and called Powell River Orphaned Wildlife Society.

Being just out of the nest, it was stunned and initially lethargic. With an injured shoulder from the fall, it perked up after a few days.

Soon eating well and banging enthusiastically on the large piece of Douglas fir bark in its cage, the bird was ready for a larger cage after a week, where it could start to gently exercise the shoulder.

Red-breasted sapsuckers nest in cavities in dead trees, seldom adding nesting material to the cavity, raising only one brood per year. Laying four to seven white eggs per brood, the incubation period is about two weeks.

The hatchlings arrive naked and helpless. The time then spent feeding and teaching the nestlings is three to four weeks. The holes they drill in tree trunks to gain access to the sap are used by the fledglings as well as hummingbirds who come to rely on them.

The rufous hummingbird will even nest near sap wells and may follow the sapsucker around during the day, feeding at the wells the sapsucker keeps flowing. Red-breasted sapsucker populations are stable.