This morning we heard that dreaded sound of birds crashing into a window in our house, but this time it was not one, but two birds, cedar waxwings that struck a window, and then fell to our deck below. My wife Ada let out a scream as birds rained down on her.
I quickly lept into action and gathered them onto a towel, away from my cat. They did not look well in the beginning. Panting, still.
Anyone who has ever seen a bird flying into a window knows that the impact can be quite stunning—literally. Birds are often moving too fast to see the glass and end up colliding with it, causing them to fall to the ground. While some birds recover quickly from the collision, others may be knocked unconscious or even killed outright. If you find a bird that has been stunned by flying into a window, there are a few things you can do to help. First, check to see if the bird is still alive. If it is, gently pick it up and place it in a box or basket lined with soft fabric. Then, provide the bird with some quiet and calm until it recovers enough to fly away on its own. In some cases, you may need to contact a wildlife rehabilitator for further assistance. However, by taking quick action, you can give these unsuspecting victims of window collisions a much better chance at survival.
I’m happy to report, however, that both eventually flew away in their own time. Such beautiful birds.
Watch the video
The cedar waxwing is a bird that is found in North America. Its name comes from the fact that its feathers have a waxy coating, which gives it a distinctive appearance. The bird is mostly gray in color, with a white belly and black tail. The wings are tipped with red, and the bird has a small crest on its head. Cedar waxwings are social birds, and they often travel in flocks. They eat insects, fruit, and berries, and they have been known to strip fruits from trees. The bird is not currently considered to be at risk of extinction. However, changing habitats and the use of pesticides may pose a threat to the cedar waxwing in the future.
Sighting/observation reported to my iNaturalist page.
According to FLAP.org, the key to stopping birds from flying into your windows is to make the entire window look like a barrier to birds. You can do this by applying dense patterns of markings (small dots, squares, lines, etc.) to the outside of your window. To be most effective, markings must meet these guidelines:
- Apply markings in a dense pattern, leaving no gaps more than 5 cm by 5 cm (2 inches by 2 inches). If gaps are any larger, birds may try to fly through them and still hit the window.
- Apply markings to the outside surface of the glass, NOT the inside. Reflections of trees or sky on the outside of the window may render any internal window markings invisible.
- Markings must be of high contrast so that they stand out in the window. Markings with poor contrast, for example, black dots on a very dark window, might not be noticed by birds.
- Each marking should be no less than 6 mm (1/4 inch) in diameter.
- Markings must cover the entire surface of the glass.