Windows! Essential to my home! The amount of light and warmth they provide is incredibly uplifting, especially during the winter months, but sadly they are a major hazard to birds. Despite knowing this, I still can't bring myself to fill my windows with decals or hang drapes and blinds across them. Having sunlight and uninterrupted views out of my home is something I desperately need. It's perhaps my biggest indulgence, and it pricks my conscience every time I hear that thud.
Birds can mistakenly fly into one of the reflective surfaces, not knowing it's a hard barrier. And if they're flying at speed, the impact can be deadly. In a 2014 article published in The Condor, the rough estimate of annual window fatalities ranged between 0.1 to 1 billion in the United States. That's a huge impact on our avian world, and is particularly hazardous to migrating populations.
This gorgeous red-bellied woodpecker was found on its back in the snow after we heard a loud thud on one of our small side windows. Not wanting the cold to settle in and compromise its recovery, Dale picked it up and held it comfortingly and warmly in his hands. It seemed alert and intact, but maybe a little stunned. It didn't squirm or try to wriggle out of his grasp at all - it was very calm.
After the formal photo session, he placed it on the railing of our deck and watched as it slowly regained the awareness that it could fly. It looked pretty clumsy sitting on such a broad substrate as opposed to a twig or branch that its claws can grip onto, but it eventually flew off into a tall oak, flying normally.
Phew! What a relief. It was a beautiful sight to see this exquisite bird up close.