Bitten by birds!

Bitten! First thing on my TWC shift this week. Before I dropped off my coat and bag, I was invited into ICU to help with a duck. As I was holding it while the intern was getting ready to provide a fluids injection and tube feeding, it nipped me – twice! Apparently it bites hard and the bites hurt. My hand must have gotten out of the way in time because it just nipped me.

Not long later, I was in the songbird room to feed fruit flies to the warblers and kinglets, then clean two enclosures and weigh the birds and put them back in their clean enclosures with fresh linens, branches, food, and water.

The first was an enclosure for a rose-breasted grosbeak – who bit me with her strong triangular beak, as I held her briefly. Fair enough, I said to her. I don’t blame you – I’d probably do the same thing!

The next bird was a yellow-bellied sapsucker. A beautiful woodpecker with red, black and white head. This one didn’t bite me – it has a broken top beak.

Woodpecker patients are housed in a different kind of enclosure that is more secure for the bird but a bit harder to clean. I gently took out the yellow-bellied sapsucker to weigh it and clean its enclosure. When ready — all clean and with some maple syrup, fresh berries, mealworms, suet, and water – the sapsucker was returned. It went straight back of its enclosure to hide behind a thick piece of bark. Exactly where it was when we started.

Image: ©Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark