SLAM*#@! What the heck was that? OH NO! On the ground beneath our 2nd story bedroom window lay a female lesser goldfinch, stunned from crashing into our bedroom window.
Why do birds fly into windows? According to the Humane Society, they see the reflection of sky and trees instead of a pane of glass – so they think they’re following a clear flight path. This mistake can be deadly – at least 50% of birds who hit windows die from their injuries or because another animal killed them while they were stunned and couldn’t escape or protect themselves.
How do we keep this from happening? Oh, there are some very cool ecofriendly companies who care about birds and make it easy for us to do our part! Here are a few companies – and actions – you can take to reduce bird deaths from window collisions:
1. Window Screens – The Bird Screen Company (“Saving birds one window at a time!”) makes screens that provide a flexible barrier between the birds and the window pane (think trampoline!!). These screens are transparent like regular window screens so they don’t interfere with your view (or your pleasure of birdwatching!!) and hang more loosely in front of your windows to provide a gentle cushion for the birds if they inadvertently strike your window.
2. Window Decals – WindowAlert uses ultraviolet technology to make a window decal that may be applied to home and office windows. The decals contain a component which brilliantly reflects ultraviolet sunlight. This ultraviolet light is invisible to humans but glows like a stoplight for birds to help them avoid striking the class. WindowAlert decals come in a variety of art work such as butterflies and leaf medley. Oh, what to choose – that’s the hard part!!
A few other actions you can take to prevent these collisions include placing bird feeders and bird baths either within 3 feet (too close for a collision to be fatal) of windows or more than 30 feet away (birds will be more likely to recognize that windows are part of the house), and install bug window screens on your windows to reduce the reflection of sky and trees that confuse the birds.
What should you do if a bird hits the window? The Humane Society suggests:
- Gently cover and catch the bird with a towel and place it in a cardboard box (with air holes) that is securely closed.
- Keep the bird in a quiet, warm, dark place, away from activity.
- Check on the bird every 30 minutes, but don’t touch the bird.
- If the bird seems to recover, carry the container outside and open it. Then step back, remain quiet, and see if the bird flies away. If she doesn’t fly away, carefully take her back inside to rest for awhile longer.
- If the bird doesn’t recover with a few hours, but is still berthing, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.
In our situation, the lesser goldfinch female was sitting on the ground (not unconscious) though apparently very stunned. We have an indoor cat so weren’t worried about her. We kept our dog with us away from the goldfinch and worked in our yard close by to protect her from neighbor cats while she rested. In 45 minutes, she recovered and flew away. Yeah!!
Well, this episode triggered a day of window washing and putting up summer bug screens on all the windows to prevent more birds from colliding! No more “Houston, we have a problem”! Our spring migrants and nesting birds are now cleared for landing!! Together…we can make a clear flight path for our wild birds! Just one more step on our ecofriendly journey!
Photo Credits: Top photo of Lesser Goldfinch Female on Wikipedia by Alan D. Wilson – NaturePicsOnline; WindowAlert Decal Photo courtesy of WindowAlert; Bottom photo of Black-Throated Green Warbler on Wikipedia by Dan Pancamo.