Bird Lady Blog

August 17, 2017

What Dead Bird Is This?

Lesser Goldfinch

That is a sad question: What Dead Bird Is This?  Hardly ever do you find a dead bird in the street, under a plant, or in the middle of a fairway or hiking trail – but you do find them under your windows.  That is because it is estimated by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology that 100 million birds (yes, 100,000,000) are killed each year by flying dead-on into a window pane.  That number does not even account for the ones that strike a window and fall to the ground stunned and are put into jeopardy.  Many of these are small song birds, like the female Lesser Goldfinch you see in the photo, which was sent to me by a fellow Munds Park resident after it hit her window.

Birds collide with windows because they “see” a landscape reflection of trees or clouds or sky and think it is an escape or fly-though route. And instead what happens is “bam!” — they hit the glass and either fall down stunned or break their necks and fall dead.

So what can you do to prevent these devastating window collisions? The Cornell Lab of Ornithology lists several suggestions on its website, and I will paraphrase here.

First, identify which windows might be the problem. If you stand outside and look inside, do you right see a reflection of our beautiful blue skies and Ponderosa Pines?  Well if that is what you see, so will the birds.  Take some of the following steps.

  1. Either move your bird feeders much closer to your window (one to two feet away), or more them much farther away.
  2. Break up the windows’ reflections with stickers, metallic ribbons, or another type of decoration of your choice, such as a mobile, that will deter the bird flying into your window in the first place.
  3. Consider some less-obvious options (most of these would not be acceptable to us because of their aesthetic effects): spray the window with fake snow or draw streaks on your window with bar soap, place light-weight netting across your window, install windows that tilt downward, or hang tree branches in front of the window.

OK, so probably none of the options listed in #3 are palatable to you (and me!), but I do hope you will consider options #1 and #2. I ordered bird strike window decals over the internet and they have worked quite well over the past few years.  Occasionally a bird hits one of our deck windows, but the windows are close enough to the feeders so that the bird only becomes stunned temporarily and flies off.




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