The Success of a Mess

How often in life is it possible to gauge success by the severity of a mess? In the case of an injured woodpecker, that’s just what we are going for!

This beautiful female hairy woodpecker came into VINS on June 22nd after flying into a window. We know she is female because a male of the same species would have a bright red patch on the back of his head.

See a video here of the mess this woodpecker made, as well as her practicing her flight!

She was flying fast enough when she hit the window that she fractured her right wing. We wrapped her wing upon arrival so it would be close to her body and immobile. It is important to set a birds wing in a normal position as soon as possible after injury because the bird will not be able to fly if their wing heals out of place.

After about a week with her wing wrapped, we removed the bandage and moved the woodpecker into a larger indoor enclosure so she can practice her flight. We naturalized the enclosure with large logs set upright – to act as trees – and filled small holes in these logs with woodpecker food. This allows the bird to feel more at home, as well as find her own food and keep up her drilling practice.

In this video, you can see she has not forgotten how to drill!

Hopefully we will soon be able to release our messy house guest and see where her newly healed shoulder takes her.


  1. Becky @ Rub Some Dirt On It on July 15, 2011 at 3:22 am

    Hey, I'm a local mom and I also have a blog. Just wanted to let you know that I wrote a post about our great experience at VINS this week, and will be drafting it to appear in the next issue of "The Quechee Times." Thanks for a great morning!

    Becky from

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