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Birds and Windows.
January 26, 2009
Venus dominates the western sky in the early evening and Orion in high in the southeast sky the same time.
Orion will continue to cross the winter skies East to West.
So much for the warm up we were suppose to have this past week.
For two hours on Friday we managed to hit 33 degrees above zero.
A couple of good things about all the cold air..........
It has cooled down Lake Michigan some and some ice has formed far enough out, so there is less lake effect snow right now.
People with severe allergies enjoy the reprieve that winter offers
There are a lack of mosquitoes and other insects to bug you.
If you live in a warmer climate, you may see certain butterflies appear and disappear as the weather changes.
It is a common sight and happens with butterflies that hibernate as adults.
Gulf Fritillary butterflies are a good one for this.
When the weather warms up enough, butterflies and other insects wake up to feed.
When temperatures drop, they go back to sleep to do it another time.
You will need an extended warm period to wake up dormant eggs and cocoons.
It did warm up enough for me to take a couple of short walks with the four legged children.
Keet and Ziggy like that, but I worry about them.
The birds are still busy in my yard and at the feeders.
This will continue to be the case as long as the heavy snow cover remains.
Depending where you live, the winter weather will bring more birds to your feeders.
Snow covers up natural food sources.
Competition and declining habitats play huge factors in the number of feeder birds you attract.
In milder climates, natural food (insects, insect eggs, seeds, nuts etc.) is becoming harder to find this time of year.
By offering what the birds want, you pretty much insure some activity all year round.
Sure, Dark-eyed juncos and Tree sparrows will leave me, but the are replaces by Song and Chipping sparrows.
White crowned sparrows stop for a couple of weeks as the head North.
The dominant pair of Northern cardinals, Black-capped chickadees, Downy woodpeckers and other birds are sure to stay.
Before you know it, it will be spring and hummingbird time.
I took a walk in the neighboring field and woods this past Friday for the first time this year.
I can't say I was crazy about the knee deep snow, but the fresh air was nice.
I also heard a cardinal and a couple of chickadees singing.
Now that was a "warm fuzzy".
How nice to hear birds singing, yet it is that time of year already (at least here it is).
Another sign that spring is on the way.
With all the snow to brighten up what would otherwise be cloudy and gloomy days, it also brings other factors into play.
Windows and birds don't go together at all.
Besides regular bird/window collisions, we have to factor predator and prey scenarios.
The quick attack or fly through and your song birds are taking off in a panic.
The window wins.
This weeks topic, windows and birds.
Our homes are often scenes of quiet carnage.
Every day, thousands of birds mistake a reflection for a flyway, or they take off fast from a feeder and slam into a window.
This happens both with migrants and birds familiar with a backyard.
Birds and windows simply don’t mix: put a flying bird up against a sheet of glass and the glass wins, every time.
Estimates range from hundreds of millions to a billion or more window kills a year in this country.
What is really sad, one out of every two birds dies after hitting a window.
Some that fly away later succumb to injuries.
We don’t often see the results because birds often fall into shrubbery and are eaten by scavengers or, in downtown areas, are cleaned up by maintenance crews.
Window strikes occur at all times of the day and in all seasons of the year.
Why Birds Collide With Windows.
It's thought that birds hit windows because they see the landscape—trees, sky, clouds—reflected on the glass surface but do not realize that a hard, transparent surface lies between them and that apparent open space.
Panicking birds, fleeing for cover to escape predators, are even more likely to fly into windows.
Newer windows are more reflective (notice pictures) as they offer anti glare on the inside of a house or building.
Windows are now tinted to keep bright light and fadeing sun rays out, and this adds to the mirror effect of the glass.
Now birds have to contend with glass covered tunnels (where they see through your house from front to back etc.) and reflective landscapes (mirror images).
The most common injuries are head trauma and broken bones.
Sometimes the birds are merely stunned and recover in a few moments.
Often, though, window hits lead to severe internal injuries and death.
Unfortunately, the severity of injuries sustained from crashing into windows is often fatal.
Some of our favorite backyard birds are frequent victims, including robins, juncos, cedar waxwings and cardinals, even tiny hummingbirds.
Some of the saddest cases are spring migrants who’ve flown thousands of miles only to end up crushed below a window, or fall’s young birds, who haven’t had time to become window savvy.
OK, enough bad news.
Try some of these ideas to make your windows safer:
The "rule of 3 or 30." Move feeders and birdbaths more than 30 feet away from or within three feet of windows.
Distance gives birds time to avoid a window; proximity prevents them from building enough momentum to kill themselves.
You can start by simply moving your feeders and birdbaths to new locations.
Bird strikes usually occur at particular windows, so moving feeders farther away from them may solve the problem entirely.
You can also try placing your feeders much closer to the glass—if a feeder is just a foot or two from a window, birds may still fly into it, but not with enough force to injure themselves.
>Avoid apparent visual tunnels.
Bright windows on the opposite wall from your picture window may give the illusion of a visual tunnel through which birds may try to fly.
Try making one window less transparent by keeping a shade drawn or a door closed, or by altering the lighting inside the house.
You can also make the glass less transparent by taping paper or cardboard on the inside of the panes—unslightly, but a good temporary measure until you can find a better solution.
Break up window reflections by sticking objects to the outside of the glass.
Black plastic silhouettes of a falcon, hawk, or owl sometimes work, not because they look like predators but because they disrupt the window's reflectivity.
Semi-transparent stickers can also do the job—some have decorative bird shapes, or look like spider webs. Sheets of plastic food wrap may work too.
Try spraying fake Christmas snow on the outside of the window, or drawing streaks across it with bar soap.
Again, the goal is to break up external reflections.
>Attach branches in front of windows.
For a more natural look, attach dead tree branches in front of your window.
The picture to your above and the one below are the imprints of birds hitting windows.
That is a pretty good force to leave these markings.
They may cause the birds to slow down and avoid the window as they fly toward it.
You can arrange the branches so they don't obscure your view.
>Attach hanging objects to deter birds.
Hang lightweight, shiny items in front of the window so they move in the breeze and dissuade birds from approaching.
Try strips of shiny, reflective plastic (hung a few inches apart), old aluminum pie plates, or unwanted CDs.
>Reduce reflections with trees or awnings.
Reduce the amount of light reaching a problem window by planting shade trees close to it. This will help prevent reflections. However, it will also obstruct your view.
Trees take time to grow, so consider shading your window with an awning instead. Either one may help birds by reducing the amount of sky reflected in windows.
>Cover windows with netting.
Place netting over the window.
It provides a physical barrier to birds flying into the glass, yet won't obstruct your view.
Small-mesh netting is best— 5/8" (1.6 cm) in diameter, (he same kind of netting you place over fruit trees or starwberry patches) so if birds do fly into it they won't get their heads or bodies entangled but will bounce off unharmed.
You can mount the netting on a frame, such as a storm-window frame, for easy installation and removal.
You could also try insect screening material. .
There are things we can do to lessen windows’ danger to birds.
Birds often collide with windows as they fly to and from feeding stations, so you might want to take a bird's eye view of their homes from the feeding area.
Birds generally collide with only one or a few windows, and these are often large panes of glass on the first floor.
Once "killer windows" are identified – those that are highly reflective or are opposite a window on the other side of the house, providing a clear view through the house – you can relocate feeders to provide safer routes.
The key thing to remember is that so many things in our environment are hazardous to birds. This is one, at least, that we can do something about.
Feeders attached to windows are another great idea.
I understand that some of these ideas seem a bit extreme and seem to obscure the main reason we feed birds (to watch them).
A couple years ago, we had put in some of those new fangled all weather seal windows and they reflect big time.
They do what they'er suppose to do, but reflection became an instant issue.
I find that with proper feeder locations and some well placed sun catchers or hanging baskets, "Killer Windows" have all but disappeared here at home.
Oh, I better thrown in Karen's lacy curtains too.
Rx for stunned birds
If you find an unconscious bird, it’s best not to leave it outside for scavengers to find.
Instead, you may gently pick the bird up and place it in a paper bag or cardboard box with air holes.
Leave the bag or box in a quiet, warm area away from children and pets.
After an hour, bring the container outdoors, open it up and see if the bird flies off.
If it doesn’t fly and/or is obviously injured, contact a wildlife rehabilitator or veterinarian for help.
Remember that, technically, it is illegal to handle a migratory bird without a permit.
Not a happy topic and not many happy endings, but window and bird collisions have become a fact of life.
By doing your part, you can help prevent tragic deaths like the flicker to your right.
Well, it's time to fly for now.
Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
Principle -- particularly moral principle -- can never be a weathervane, spinning around this way and that with the shifting winds of expediency. Moral principle is a compass forever fixed and forever true.
Edward R. Lyman
It is said, the true you is who you are when no one is looking.
Your priniples and character remain true.
Your ideas never waver.
Even if no one is watching, you know and God knows.
Your principles remain firm and that shows in your daily living.
Doesn't that put a warm smile on your face when you look in the mirror and love who you see looking back.
Now that you have that smile, it is time to share it with everyone around.
Not just loved ones, that is easy to do.
Share it will strangers and just one person you may not care about to much.
Make someone's day or even confuse them (that will make you smile more).
Until next time my friend.
God's blessings to you.
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb
Your friend indeed,
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