Birds Don’t See Windows
A recent BBC item highlighted the problem of birds crashing into windows mistaking them for openings or seeing a tree reflection with tragic consequences. The city of Toronto in Canada sits on a major migratory bird route and every year is witness to huge numbers of bird deaths due to this phenomenon. They have now changed their building rules so that new constructions must incorporate bird friendly initiatives such as recessed windows to prevent reflection and smaller glass panes rather than buildings shrouded in vast glass panels. The article demonstrates a significant reduction in bird strikes and deaths indeed in one building alone down by a massive 90%.
Here in Wenvoe many residents love to feed garden birds with large numbers of feeders and bird tables across the village. As we now approach spring the birds are becoming more active in courtship and nesting so using more energy than normal. These feeders create a dichotomy as birds become dependent on them and less territorial in nature. That means birds often congregate in smaller areas given the ready supply of food. Territorial competition is part of nature and as birdsong is wonderful to us humans it's actually a robust warning message to other birds to stay away and go elsewhere.
This congregation of many different breeds of birds at garden feeders creates excitement and competition amongst our feathered friends often resulting in fights and disputes which creates confusion and disorientation. All too often birds in their haste mistake dark windows as open gaps or see reflection of sky or trees resulting in impact. Smaller birds weighing only a few grams can survive these collisions but bigger birds like wood pigeons and crows or fast flying birds like green woodpecker are often killed by breaking their necks or at the very least badly stunned.
This is easily preventable. The RSPB recommends breaking up the dark window (not literally!!) by closing curtains to prevent reflection; putting plants on the windowsills as a visual deterrent or by adhering stickers to windows to show there's an obstruction. There are varied and lovely stickers available on the RSPB website and other outlets which are not too expensive and a great way to support these beautiful little gifts from nature. See http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/bird-window-stickers.html