Pileated woodpeckers are just such amazing birds! Here is a picture of a female at WTS (males have a bit more red around the beak). And their call sounds like crazy laughter- you can hear it in the woods, but you can't always see them. Apparently Woody-Woodpecker was modeled after them. For any of you familiar with the search for the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, long thought extinct, but supposedly seen a couple of years ago in a swamp down south, the pileated woodpecker is the bird that critics say that people are really seeing. Who knows! A few months ago I bought a very fancy feeder for these birds, but it wasn't until yesterday that one showed up to use it. I was so excited! Today she came back! .... with her parents! That's right, there was 3 of them- so amazing! I'm pretty sure that it was a family as one was male and two were female, and one of the females was smaller...however, I am not familiar with their family structure, so I can't say authoritatively that they were REALLY a family!
There were plenty of other wild visitors to WTS recently as well. One young male White-tailed deer has started coming all on his own. He showed up with another young doe last week, but this week he has been coming every day on his own. I've heard some guns go off in the woods, and I hope that his companion wasn't hurt. Deer are herd animals, so it always makes me see a bit sad to see them, especially young ones, on their own. Sometimes at the clinic we get very young babies that were born late in the season, "late-droppers," whose mothers have been killed by hunters. Hunting season is supposed to begin at a time when the babies are old enough to fare for themselves, but late-droppers still need their mums months into the hunting season.
The deer has been seen with a rafter of Wild Turkeys (that's the name for a group of wild turkeys!)! This gang is made up all of young males. about 7 of them appear to be 6-18months old, and 3 of them are probably 18 months and older, perhaps to about 36 months...though I don't know enough about turkeys and their social structure....but would love to, they are such great animals! Thomas & Theodore, otherwise known as Tom & Theo are the leaders of the pack. These two young males (they are 2 of the 3 older ones) have been coming to WTS, just the two of them, everyday for at least 6 months. Just recently all these other young males have joined them. One other time Tom & Theo brought lady turkeys, but they never came back with them. Again, I would love to understand the reasons behind this interesting social structure, but as far as I know their behaviour has not been studied in a robust way. More on T&T later!
And what about our little friend the flying squirrel! He is doing great! He's become more and more at home in his new cage and loves snuggling and sleeping in his hay ball that I filled with all sorts of fluffy soft stuff. He is also a wheel CHAMPION!!! I'm so glad that I got him a nice big wheel to run on, which he does, non-stop for 10minutes at a time. Here is a picture of him, doesn't he look fake?! This morning I heard what I thought was him scrambling in the walls. Great, I thought, he's escaped again! but no, he was all cozy in his hayball....this was someone else in my walls having a great time...and for all I know he met someone when he escaped, and now has a flying squirrel friend that comes to visit him! I may have to name the squirrel Steve McQueen.
And salamander, btw, appears very happy with his worm selection and nice damp chilly aquarium. Whatever works! :)
Finally, Cornell WHC... everyone is doing great! Both screechies are recovering really well and eating on their own. Another screech owl came in with a screwed up eye, but we are hoping that it will heal with treatment. Why do so many screech owls come to us with eye injuries??? I don't know! But this is one thing that I would love to study if I can convince a Cornell professor to adopt me as a graduate student (I'm in the process of transferring departments). I can't imagine that these little owls are bad fliers and always fly into things....is it possible that something in their diets may be affecting their vision or flying ability, and this leads to more collisions? Maybe. The question is what comes first? The collision with resulting eye injury? Or an eye injury/dizziness/weakness that causes a collision?
Herodotus is doing great and has gained another 20g! I think they may perform his surgery to remove his eye this week...and I've told the vets that I want to be there! So, stay tuned....
And Mister Red Tail hawk . he's still angry as ever! but is eating well, and we may test his flying ability this week. The picture of him here shows him on a perch with a "tail-guard" on. This protects their tail-feathers, which can take months to grow back if they are damaged.