A frightened-looking Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker fledgling…

on 22nd September 2018
video grab

Jeremiah Loei’s video clip shows a recently fledged Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (Dendrocopos moluccensis) chick clinging to the vegetation where it landed after leaving its nest. The chick appears vulnerable. A number of questions need to be answered…

1. Did the chick left the nest by itself? Not likely. Most chicks need adult persuasion to leaves a comfortable nest and face the unknown surroundings.

2. Did the adults abandon the fledgling? Definitely not. They are around but hidden from view. With so many photographers around, they will remain hidden…

3. Is the chick vulnerable and frightened? Definitely! Having yet to master flight, it is most vulnerable to potential predators.

4. When do we come to the fledgling’s aid? Only when it is in a location accessible to stray cats and dogs (as well as passers-by), like on the ground. In which case place the fledgling in a high up location. The adults will the take care of it when people leave the scene.

5. Should you pick up a helpless fledgling and bringing it home to nurse it until it is able to fly? Definitely not. You will only fatten it for a future predator’s meal.

6. Why is this so? For one, we can nurse the fledgling but can we teach it to look for food in the wild? Can we teach it to recognise potential predators and evade them? Only the parent birds can do these tasks.

7. Should you keep guard to keep the fledgling from danger? Yes, if it is in a dangerous location. And yes, if you have nothing else to do! But it is not necessary if the fledgling is in a reasonably safe location.

Jeremiah Loei & YC Wee
19th August 2018

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

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