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Submitted By

Alison Curtis

Gooderham, ON, Canada


This is a picture of a hairy woodpecker at our feeder. We noticed it was sick about a month ago when it started hanging on the feeder doing nothing for several minutes at a time (our feeder is sheltered) and all fluffed up even though the other birds weren’t fluffed up. Every year we usually have a hairy woodpecker go through this illness. Next, the feet will get worse so that it has trouble holding on, the feathers will get more ragged and it will start to get small growths around the eyes. By early March it will stop appearing at the feeder, presumably dead. Until then, it eats well, mostly suet. We try to keep our feeders clean and wash them in a bleach solution every month or so. No other birds seen affected. It is always a hairy woodpecker; never a downy.



Hairy Woodpecker Illnes

Hairy Woodpecker showing deformed feet

One reply on “Hairy Woodpecker Illnes”

Just found a Hairy Woodpecker with similar growths on the back claw of each foot. About the size of a garden pea. Bird was entangled in suet mesh bag and couldn’t free itself because growth was trapped I freed bird but have my doubts it will survive. Totally exhausted Location: mid lower peninsula of lower Michigan

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