The woodpecker and the window: a backyard drama

Digital Originals

(Warning: Some of the imagery may be disturbing, even though everything ends happily.)

York County (WHTM) – It was a very quiet Saturday afternoon until the thump.

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A hawk chased this red-bellied woodpecker across our yard. Both crashed into our rear picture window. The hawk, which apparently struck just a glancing blow, flew off screeching angrily. We looked out to see the woodpecker on our back deck, breathing rapidly, but otherwise not moving. We were convinced we were watching a bird slowly dying.

Then the breathing slowed, and we were even more convinced we were watching the bird die.

But then, he moved his head. It took a while, but he finally levered himself up into a somewhat standing position.

We decided the best thing to do was leave him alone and hope for the best. We peeked out the window once in a while to see how he was doing.

Then he was gone. Did he finally collect himself and fly off? Did he try to collect himself, try to fly off, and fall into the bushes? Or did a predator swoop down and snag him? We had no way of knowing.

Then, on Sunday morning we looked out, and there he was at the bird feeder, head feathers still messed up, but otherwise, none the worse for his narrow escape, and his encounter with weird, noisy two-legged creatures.

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