Baby white-woodpeckers are dumb

2019-04-21, updated 2020-07-28 — story personal blog   ⇦Tikz snippet preview in orgmodeOrganizing an IAP class⇨

So during my life I have helped take care of multiple birds (bem-te-vis, parrots, toucans, large hawks, tiny hawks, vultures, sparrows, doves, humming birds, canaries, woodpeckers, etc), usually baby ones who had their family killed by teenagers/hunters/superstitious people/fire, or old ones who were injured by electric fences/teenagers/people cutting their wings to sell, etc. It is a long story…

For the longest time I though that doves were the dumbest birds. We could take care of them for multiple weeks while they recovered, but even past those weeks they'd still be really scared of us and would try to escape through a wall. They never manage to learn that we were not a threat, and that they couldn't escape through a wall.

But now in January when I was back in my hometown, I helped take care of 2 baby white-woodpeckers. And they were a quite interesting bunch.

They also could not learn that we were not a threat, but, different from doves, they were not trying to fly through walls. They had this amazing concept on their minds that if they can't see you, you can't see them.

In good days, they'd try to find a corner to hide their head, or they'd try to hide their head under something. However, most times they'd just put their heads down while in the middle of the floor, in the middle of everything and try very hard to not look at you.

They also had very interest concepts about food. If the food is at their eye level, it is food. Holding beetles' larvae at their eye level height with pincers was the way to go, as well as a mix of bird + dog food crunched and mixed together with water, that usually works really well for young birds.

However as soon as food falls below their eye level, it is not food anymore. baby woodpecker: Do you know this chunky larva crawling around on my feet? it''s always been there. There is no food near me.

One of them would also constantly attack the other sibling. The other sibling would follow the "if I can't see you, you can't see me" and hide its head. It would usually hide its head under the closest thing to it, which was its sibling who was attacking. It was not very effective.

Interesting enough, if you separated both of them, they'd both try to get together, even though one of them was almost getting killed by the other.

We released them after 2 weeks, and after a few days of acclimatizing to the place they were going to be released ( we keep them in a very large bird cage thing, like 10 feet by 30 feet by 20 feet in the location. I think it is called a vivarium in English?).

The attacker sibling survived, the one being attacked disappeared after 2 days.

I hope that the one who survived has found nice places to hide its head every time it gets scared.

Author: Ivan Tadeu Ferreira Antunes Filho

Date: 2022-07-23 Sat 05:11


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