Vicki Andersen and her volunteers from the Songbird Care and Education Center in Orange County, CA cared for these three Acorn woodpeckers from the time they were about two days old when they became casualties of tree trimming in Hacienda Heights. For weeks, the birds needed to be fed about every 15 minutes for 14 hours a day. Exhaustive devotion by the volunteers of this non-profit gave them a chance for survival.
When the immature birds were fully feathered and at the appropriate weight they practiced climbing in their plastic crate and occasionally fed themselves. Eventually their transition to the outdoors required living for about two months in a mobile aviary located in a suitable habitat about two hours away where professional veterinary care is available. Why? Because Acorn Woodpeckers live in large family groups and are highly territorial. To release them immediately upon arrival where the species already lives would endanger them unnecessarily. A period of time in the aviary provided the caged birds and resident Acorn woodpeckers to get acquainted without feeling threatened by each other. When the time was right, the veterinary staff released the birds and observed their successful acclimation in their new oak woodland.
The Center provides this service to many casualties of tree trimmers, outdoor cats, house tenting and painting. Vicki and her volunteers point out that such casualties are completely preventable if people would keep their cats indoors and exercise greater care and caution when and how they perform such tasks. The months of February through August are the most dangerous time for birds when work is performed where they are nesting.