TYPE OF BIRD: Red-breasted Sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber)
WHEN RESCUED: July 9.
WHAT HAPPENED: A red-breasted sapsucker was brought to the Juneau Raptor Center July 9, 2011, in an open box, sleeping and completely unaware of what was going on around him. He was named for his rescuer. His caretaker was volunteer Sandy Colon.
INJURIES: Kim appeared to have an infection of some kind. Though JRC volunteers are not certain.
CARE: He was treated with an anti-inflammatory and awakened every hour for feeding. Over the next couple of days he slowly started to become aware of things around him and would look around for a while and then go back to sleep. Although he was now awake and somewhat active, he tended to sit and shake. Eventually, he stopped eating and was then treated with antibiotics. Within a couple of days, he was like a new bird. His shaking stopped and he started flying around his room. He was then taught how to eat out of dish, which is quite a feat as this is very foreign to sap-suckers. In the wild, they drill holes in trees and lick the sap and trapped insects from the tree. A regular-type perch was set up, and at the end of the perch was a bowl. This made feeding much easier and Kim really started to excel once he was no longer having to be hand fed. He was also started on mealworms, which he loved.
RELEASE: After he was finished with his antibiotic treatment and he was flying around quite a bit, the decision was made to release him. When he was released on July 16, he immediately flew to a huge tree and began to climb up the tree. Kim was watched by volunteers until he went out of sight.
MORE ABOUT THE RED-BREASTED
SAPSUCKER: Red-breasted sapsuckers are not very social and do not congregate in flocks, not even during migration. They leave Juneau towards the end of August in groups of 3 or 4.
• Message phone for the Juneau Raptor Center, 586-8393; emergency pager, 790-5424; or for more information about the JRC, go online to juneauraptorcenter.org.