Windows and Birds


It happens to all of us, unless you live in a windowless tent.


You look outside. On the ground, the sidewalk or the driveway lies a dead bird.

Most often, it happens during migration when the birds are flying to and fro over the earth in response to a power we can only guess at. In spring, they fly thousands of miles to their breeding grounds. When they’re done, they fly back. They know when and (usually) where to go. Birders can only predict and follow with radar, expensive telescopes and binoculars. We get excited about the “season” when the chance of spotting an unusual bird increases. We spend days driving around to the hot spots, warbler traps, ponds, lakes, shorelines, mountains. Every habitat hosts its own specialty.

We also build sparkling structures made of glass, power lines, towers, rotating blades, sucking engines, and an entire forest of obstacles for these creatures of the air to maneuver around. And they don’t get it. When they see a promising expanse of blue sky and the reflection of an oak tree to escape into when being chased by a hungry hawk, they fly for cover only to annihilate themselves in the false hope that your window is the gateway to safety.

I can’t bear the thought of discarding their dead bodies in a garbage can along with the cat poop. So last week, when the male Downy Woodpecker hit the kitchen window box and the Fox Sparrow nailed itself on the garage door glass, I scooped them up and put them in a plastic bag to store in my freezer until the ground thaws and I can bury them in the fairy garden.

This creeps my husband out but he is really okay with it. (“For better or worse,” remember honey?)

I had decals on the main glass panels of my house. There are now tons more, all over the garage windows, on the sliding glass deck door, the long pane in the front. The house is peppered with silhouettes of hawks, spider webs, chickadees, and cardinals, little plastic stick-on sheets standing guard against the innocence of birds.

You can buy them too, at any Audubon store bird store. If you can’t find them leave me a comment and I will be glad to help.

After all, every bird counts.

This entry was posted in Audubon, binoculars, birdbath, dead, decals, migration, window. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Windows and Birds

  1. Bevson says:

    It is always a sad thing. The first time this problem was brought home to me was years ago, when I saw my first tiny Golden-crowned Kinglet at a friend’s house. And it was stiff and cold. I don’t seem to have this problem at my house but have screens on all my windows. Maybe they bounce off???

  2. Anonymous says:

    Interesting and informative post. I dont like seeing dead birds either. It is sad. While growing up, I was told that finding a dead bird is bad luck; maybe its an old superstition from being raised in an Italian-American family. Last year, after my cancer diagnosis, I saw a bird on my front walk dragging its tiny body under our garden hose holder. Other birds flew down to check the situation out. I freaked out, thinking it was a forewarning of my fate. I went to tell my husband, but when we looked for this bird outside, it disappeared. I hoped in my heart that it suddenly recovered and flew away, unharmed. Another folklore, I was raised with: bad luck follows when an outside bird flies into the house.-kimmie (fruit from the tree)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s