Bird Lady Blog

May 28, 2010

2010 Birding Resolutions

Filed under: Birding Resolutions,Munds Park Birding — Munds Park Birding @ 4:17 am

Happy New Year to all!  It’s hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since we worried about Y2K and the potential computer crashes predicted with the turn of the century.  Now we’ve entered a new decade, and most of us are not only using computers more, but we use iBird for our iPhones to augment our book field guide, we read birding blogs on the internet, we shop on-line for new binoculars or a scope, and we e-mail our friends about our recent bird sightings.  So a lot has changed, for the better I would say.  But some things still stay the same, like making and striving to accomplish New Year resolutions.

 So here are my birding resolutions for 2010, and one of them involves all Munds Park residents.  I hope you will hop on the band-wagon, I mean bird-wagon, and make resolution #5 yours as well. 

 Visit the Grand Canyon during the Hawk Watch season.

  1. Bird the Kachina Wetlands with new birding friends from Munds Park.
  2. Hold at least one gathering of birders in Munds Park this summer so fellow-birders get to know each other and begin networking.
  3. Do a better job of protecting the Cordillean Flycatchers on our new deck, assuming they nest again, from the predator that was most likely a Raccoon and who knocked down the nest last summer.
  4. See the Red-Faced Warbler.
  5. Begin a campaign in Munds Park to minimize, if not completely stop, the bird-kills from birds flying into our homes’ windows.

 I think #5 is the most important resolution I’ve made in a long time as far as birding goes.  I would bet a burger at the Lone Pine that most of you reading this article have found a dead bird on your deck or on the ground, and you know it came from the bird flying straight into one of your windows.  In fact, you probably saw the imprint of the bird on your window pane or heard the dreaded “thump” when it hit. 

 Three years ago when I visited the Flagstaff Arboretum I saw a product in their gift shop that was called “Window Alert”.  The product is a package of four decals that have a special coating to reflect ultraviolet sunlight. This ultraviolet light is invisible to humans, but birds see it as a brilliant glow – much like a stoplight.  The naturalist conducting our tour mentioned that these decals were used at the Arboretum to prevent window bird kills – and that they were the best solution the Arboretum had come across yet for this problem. 

 So I bought a package and very easily placed the stickers on our deck windows.  The result?  No bird crashes that I’m aware of into our deck windows.  No dead birds with broken necks on the redwood floor below.  And to the human eye, the decals appear as frosted or etched glass – certainly unobtrusive during the day and almost invisible at night.  But to birds, who can see ultraviolet light that we cannot, the decals act as a warning that shouts “Don’t fly through here”.  The bad news, however, is that we have two side windows right below the roof line that I haven’t placed decals on because we don’t have a ladder tall enough.  Last summer I found one dead Rufous Hummingbird on the steps below those windows.  To think that this bird migrates from Munds Park to Mexico and back only to crash and die because of one of our windows reflects the great outdoors is sad and frustrating. 

 So my resolution #6 has several parts.  First, educate residents of Munds Park about the window-kill problem, how it can be prevented, and get everyone who has windows that are bird-crash magnets to take action.  There are other ideas beside the decals if you don’t want to spend the $7 or so to purchase four decals per window.  Just check out www.birdwatchersdigest.com and search for the article “The Top Ten Things You Can Do To Prevent Window Strikes”.  The First Alert decals, however, have proven in at least one scientific research study by a Mulhenberg College professor to be very effective in minimizing window strikes.  The second part of Resolution #6 is to find someone with a very tall ladder who will help place decals on the two windows I can’t reach on my own.  And the third part of this resolution is to keep the educational campaign up all year long to ensure all residents of Munds Park are aware of alternatives to bird-window strikes. 

 You can order Window Alert decals at www.windowalert.com.  You can reach me at margaretdyekman@cox.net.  You can also read previous Birds of Munds Park articles that have been published in the Pinewood News at www.birdladyblog.wordpress.com.  And all these links and sites in this article prove at least to me that Y2K is well past us and we’ve moved along with the World Wide Web to a more connected birding world.

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