Woody Woodpecker climbs bird equivalent of Everest to return to nest

Woody had a lucky escape after plunging 30ft from his nest as he leant forward to grab a snack from his mum's beak.

Still unable to fly, poor Woody overbalanced and fell out of the nest, plummeting 30 ft down the tree into dense brambles.

It was all caught on camera by amateur photographer Ian Curtis, while out walking in Wolvercote lakes, Oxon he thought Woody may have had his chips.

Can I have breakfast Mum Credit: Ian Curtis
Woody leans forward to reach for the food Credit: Ian Curtis

Over a couple of days I realised they were 2 nestlings …who would take it in turns to peer out of the hole, calling for food.

The Parents would arrive, beak full of insects, and climb into the hole.

As the chicks grew larger and stronger, the parents would feed them at the front of the hole, stuffing insects into their gaping mouths..

Predictably the chicks were very demanding and - whichever was at the hole entrance - would stretch out their necks when they saw the parents flying towards them.

– Ian Curtis
Going Credit: Ian Curtis

Then, whoops, it happened. One youngster did overreach, over-enthusiastically and was suddenly spread-eagled against the bark, apparently desperately hanging on.

As well as hanging on with its claws, the half-grown wings were pressed against the trunk for extra support.

I stood there thinking, Oh my gosh - what do I do now. But there was 15-20 foot of dense brambles so I couldn't help. I just sat and waited.

– Ian Curtis
Gone... Woody fell into dense bramble Credit: Ian Curtis

There was a deathly silence. Ian thought the parents may fly down with food, but no. Ian was beginning to fear the worst when he saw a flutter of wings on a tree trunk

Woody bravely clambers back up the tree Credit: Ian Curtis

I had been assuming the worst. That the beady-eyed magpies or crows would swoop in and put an end to Woody

But his sibling back in the hole was. Shouting for parents and food Woody had something to home in on. Even so, it must have looked like a bit of an Everest effort.

After a few efforts of a clamber forwards, clamber sideways,half a clamber backwards, I realised Woody was making serious progress. Woody was, however, climbing the “wrong” tree.

Still, at least he could see home. And you could see going through a human’s mind it would have been ”I just need to flutter across this canyon to get to the other side”. He did and was able to grab hold and begin the final ascent.

When he did make it back to his home, he clambered onto the top of the trunk and sat down for a rest .

– Ian Curtis
Safely back home Credit: Ian Curtis