Despite the bitter cold the last few days, Holly insisted on supervising the removal of the debris from the fire. She was quite vocal on the work being done and insisted they stop every so often to pat her. She is such a flirt.
When Holly was out this afternoon she began to point and whine near the wooded area of my yard. At first I thought she was after a stick or bit of debris. When I looked to where she was pointing I saw a wee Black capped chickadee in some distress.
I brought the bird inside to see if it was injured. It took about an hour before it seemed to come around. As it appeared uninjured after another hour I though it best to release it outside.
when I tried to release it outside, it flew (not well) to a suet feeder on my deck. It chirped and began to peck at the suet.
Almost immediately, a downy woodpecker pair appeared and chased the chickadee to the ground.
Once on the ground the chickadee began to flounder again, it was able to climb a twig and attempted to make its way up a tree. One of the woodpeckers intercepted the chickadee by fluttering against it with it's wings. This happened a few more times until the chickadee flew/dropped to the ground. I watched for awhile as the chickadee hopped about and hid under twigs and leaves. It never attempted to fly. During all this, the woodpeckers were active in the yard flying from feeder to feeder and talking to each other. As it was so cold today and the chickadee seemed in such distress I felt it was best to bring the bird inside again. It took about a half a hour before the chickadee calmed down, appeared normal and became active. I wanted to allow it a bit more time to recover before attempting release it outside again. When I check on it after an hour, it was dead.
The bird does not appear injured; I assume it died from stress. As I looked at the bird, I noticed an odd thing is it has no tail, and as I think about the bird’s behaviour outside it was acting almost like a baby bird attempting to fly… When I released it the first time, I took the photo above of it on the feeder and you can clearly see it has no tail.
It is unlikely it was a cat attack as there are few if any cats in the area other than mine and they don‘t go out in the winter.
Is it possible it was a baby bird? With the odd warm weather we have had this fall and winter are the birds nesting early? Do woodpeckers attack other small birds? If so, could they have pulled out the tail feathers?
Puzzled on the East Coast.