Unexpected birds on green roofs – case of rescue and feed!

Sep 14, 2011

The kingfisher perches on the edge of the green roof looking slightly bedraggled and a Pileated Woodpecker feeds her chick in the corner of a green roof in Portland, Oregon, in the US . Two species of birds I, as both a birdwatcher and green roof -er, would never have expected to see on a green roof.

Kingfisher on a green roof in the south of France
Kingfisher on a green roof in the south of France

The Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) had probably been quickly sitting on a willow branch overhanging a canal in the Camargue, when the cat pounced. I have met Pegg the cat in question. Although the cat is a fierce-some hunter, I would never have thought she would be able to grab a Kingfisher.

But she did.

My good friend @Pescalune, managed to save the poor bird from the clutches of Pegg’s claws before her teeth gave a fatal bite. P then placed the kingfisher gently on the green roof to recover. Hence the bird looks slightly ‘ruffled’. Once recovered off it flew to be a fisher Martin again.

Pileated Woodpecker with chick on a green roof in Portland 2010
Pileated Woodpecker with chick on a green roof in Portland 2010

The small green roof on the edge of Portland (PDX), Oregon must have cushioned the blow when the fledgling Pileated (Dryocopus pileatus) Woodpecker tumbled from its perch high in a Cedar tree. Not phased by the unfamiliar surroundings the adults dropped from the canopy and proceeded to rear the chick on the edge of the green roof. (I was sent this in an email back in spring 2010 and am grateful to Faye Yoshihara & Kevin Kenaga for allowing me to use the picture – even if I am over 12 months late!).

This is the great thing about green roofs (and to be honest). They never ceased to surprise you. Plants that are not meant to grow on green roofs, spiders that are extremely rare or bees that are extremely rare can surprise you and pop up on a green roof in the heart or the edge of a big metropolis or even a wood shed in the South of France.

Let’s be surprised.

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