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.