Sick woodpecker takes herself to animal hospital for treatment

Hungry: Woody digs in to her worms at Oak and Furrows

Hungry: Woody digs in to her worms at Oak and Furrows

First published in News
Last updated
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Brendan McFadden
Wilts and Glos Standard by , Reporter

A SOMERFORD Keynes animal rescue centre is used to having sick and injured wildlife being brought in for treatment but now it seems the animals are turning up themselves.

Woody the woodpecker was rushed inside the treatment room at Oak and Furrows after she was spotted sat on a window ledge outside by employees looking bleary eyed, fluffed up and very poorly.

Despite being a wild bird, the creature put up no resistance as she was carried inside for treatment by staff who were amazed that she knew where go to when she desperately needed help.

Katya Whitfield, who helped care for Woody, said: “Woody was brought in as a fledgling and was hand reared by us for four years until she was released in August 2009. She has lived here ever since and comes in regularly for food.

“She would peck your hand off generally, but in this situation we were able to pick her up. Generally woodpeckers are very shy, so to have one come that close is incredible.

“We were very worried that she might have passed away. She is still a bit thin but she is picking up.”

Katia said the bird had been seen for a few days hanging around the treatment room as if she was trying to get the staff’s attention.

Although staff were unable to identify Woody’s illness, they put her on the road to recovery by giving her a course of antibiotics and after a few days she was released back into the wild on Valentine’s Day.

For several days during her illness Woody’s concerned mate would call for her outside – prompting Oak and Furrows founder, Serena Stephens, to release her as she just could not bear the thought of the love birds being apart on a landmark romantic day.

Katya said that although it was hard to keep the two apart, staff could not let Woody leave until she was well enough.

Being handled by humans and put in a cage has not phased Woody, as ever since she has been visiting Oak and Furrows feeders in the mornings to enjoy her favourite meal of minced beef and worms.

As well as birds, Oak and Furrows cares for thousands of other injured and sick animals each year.

The charity is planning a move to a new home within a Wiltshire Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Cricklade in the spring, where it will have much improved facilities to care for sick animals.

But before that move can happen, it still needs to raise more cash to build facilities such as a treatment room and pens.

Anyone who would like to get involved, or to make a donation, contact Ray Hood on 01666 860789.

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