Pileated Woodpecker

Each and every bird we care for at the Bird Center is special, but in May 2019 we received a very unique case – a female pileated woodpecker with severe head injuries and neurological issues. The rescuers found her clinging to a tree, unable to fly, and her head was hanging limp.

With the help of oxygen therapy, she recovered within 24 hours and we started to feed her by hand every 45 minutes. After a week and a half on anti-inflammatories and hard antibiotics, she started to make improvements shortly after she began to drum on her own. In mid-June, thanks to our wonderful volunteer Donna, we were able to use a cold laser therapy machine on the bird, which helps promote blood flow and circulation and relieves soft tissue swelling. After these treatments, we began to see her start eating and drinking on her own.

Female pileated woodpecker.
Photo credit to All Species Kinship.

Her veterinarian diagnosed her with a severe head trauma and she was circling to the left. We were unsure if she would ever recover, but once she started self-feeding we knew that even if she couldn’t be released she would make an excellent educational bird or zoo placement.

Sadly, on July 8, 2019, she suffered her second seizure in a week, and this one took its toll on her. The caring staff at the Bird Center made the difficult decision to end her suffering, and she was humanely euthanized that evening. Her body was donated to an ornithological museum so that others can learn about this beautiful species.

It was an honor caring for this bird, and the Bird Center staff affectionately named her Janet. Please enjoy these photos and video compilation of her, and know that Janet is now flying free.

Photo Gallery

Click on the images to enlarge.