Friday, January 09, 2009

Bird in the Window

I actually saw this happen, out of the corner of my eye: something dark flashed against the window facing the street, and I heard a thump. Damn kids throwing something, I thought, and then thought again: did we just have a bird fly into the window?

It's a big square window with no interior panes. It was possible. I went out and peered among the hellebores under the window. Yup, on the ground was a small brown bird - lying on its back, with its little feet sticking up in the air, panting rapidly. I wondered if I should try to rescue it, and then thought no, it's likely just stunned. I never saw a bird lie on its back before.

I hadn't, of course, brought my camera, since I wasn't sure what I'd find. I scrambled back in the house, changed to the long lens, and came back out. The bird was still there, now right side up, standing (actually sort of squatting) on the ground. I took a picture:

The bird ignored me. I watched it for a minute and then went back in the house. I went back out to check on the bird maybe 4 or 5 times over the next half hour, and every time it was sitting there staring blankly. Finally, I went out to check and it was looking around, then it turned, hopped a couple of times, and flew off. OK, recovered.

My husband says there's a reason for the term "bird brain."


  1. It seems to be a leading cause of death for birds. I thought I remembered a story about birds and windows and found it here:

  2. That's a very interesting article. I knew about the problem, of course; I didn't realize it was that large. I wonder why nobody's tried to market this fritted glass - seems to me as though the right ad campaign would sell it. I'm not sure I'd buy it, though, since I frequently take photos of birds through the windows (they leave if I come outside!); selfish, I know. This little guy sat there helpless for almost 40 minutes; fortunately he was shielded among the hellebore plants, also I probably would have deterred any predators by popping out to check on him.

  3. Not true!

    Birds are among nature's smartest creatures. Crows and parrots and certain others have superior intelligences. Not all of them, of course. If I recall correctly, ostriches are really stupid.

    I had a pet parakeet once who could do all kinds of tricks. He'd sing the tunes I played on the piano, he could knock down dominos set up in a certain way, and

  4. Anonymous7:34 AM

    Birds can be pretty resiliant. Our cat brought one in the house one time as a present, we took it away from her and took it outside, about 5 minutes later, the bird flew away. We also have had several come down our chimney and fly out of the wood stove. Ah the joys of rural Missouri!