By Vanessa Broadbent
You could say that Angelo Korva is Oliver’s own bird whisperer, at least when it comes to woodpeckers.
He lives on Sawmill Road and regularly gets birds visiting his property, a hobby farm with plenty of trees.
However, this spring one of the birds stuck around longer than most.
Korva found a baby woodpecker chick that had been left on its own after its parents were chased away by a crew of aggressive birds.
“He fell out of the nest,” Korva said. “He was small so I kind of raised him for a few weeks.”
Korva placed the bird, who he named Pico, in a tree, hoping that it would fly to safety or at least be out of reach of danger. But Pico didn’t fly away, so Korva started feeding him since he was unable to find food on his own, and supplied a small box for him to nest in.
It didn’t take long for Pico to become attached to Korva. He simply had to whistle and the bird would swoop down and sit on his head.
A friend of Korva’s, Tony Zelko, witnessed the encounter.
Zelko said that when Korva called the bird, Pico answered and landed on top of his head, touched his cheek with its beak and then flew away.
“Andy (Angelo) turned toward me with tears in his eyes, everything around us was silent for a moment. Andy extended his arm toward the heavens and said, ‘Thanks good Lord for the opportunity that you give me that I could feed your birds and have conversation with them’,” Zelko said.
Although Korva has seen plenty of birds come through his property, this was the first time he’s cared for one.
“He was just like a friend,” he said. “I feed all kinds of birds here but this was something very special. I can’t understand why and I would never guess that a woodpecker would be so friendly.”
It’s been about two months since Korva first saw Pico and as he’s aged he’s become more independent. Instead of following Korva, Pico normally leaves for the day but comes back at night.
However, now Korva hasn’t seen Pico for over a week. He says it’s probably a good thing, but still bittersweet.
“I’ve worried about him so much for months,” he said. “Eventually I said to myself I would like that he go back to wildlife.”
Pico left once before for five days and came back so Korva is hoping that he’ll get to see his friend again.
“That would be nice, but if he doesn’t come back, I know he’s happy out there somewhere.”