Monday, August 25, 2008

Clinging to Safety

As more and more birds frequent my feeders, the hazards of window collisions with our glass patio doors grow more insidious. To deter such tragic accidents, over the weekend I installed Whispering Pines window clings to the interior surface of the doors. Birds have a wider visual spectrum than humans, and the white clings will appear to them as white materials would to humans under black light -- the bright, glowing white is an unmistakable symbol that this surface is not passable. I chose the leaves pattern so it blends in well with my home and sense of aesthetics, though there are several bird patterns available as well. They are quick and easy to install, and I have already seen two birds -- a broad tailed hummingbird and a house finch -- flying toward the window yet veer away as they noticed the clings. Should this simple addition to my backyard bird habitat prevent even a single bird's demise, it is an investment well worthwhile.

There are, of course, other options to deter birds from hitting windows and glass doors, and I use several. The patio furniture is placed in front of one of the doors to minimize airspace where birds could gain enough momentum to cause themselves injury; any barriers like this can be helpful. Feeder placement is also crucial: a feeder or birdbath should ideally be placed no more than three feet from a window or glass door, or if it is further in the yard, it should be at least twelve feet away (further is better). The former placement restricts how much speed birds can gain before they would accidentally hit a window, and the latter placement gives them enough room to manuever and avoid obstacles once they are in flight.

I highly encourage all backyard birders to invest in some method of control to reduce window collisions and needless bird injuries; these simple adaptations can help save the lives of our avian friends.

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