12 February 2010

check your windows

Yesterday, the following post showed up on Texbirds:

> Subject: [texbirds] Squirrel Eats Bird
> A friend of mine had a bird strike his window yesterday morning.
> Immediately a squirrel that was nearby ran over and picked up the dead
> bird and went up in a tree and proceeded to completely eat the bird.
> The friend got this shot of the event. He did not know what type of bird
> it was and is hard to say for sure from the picture. Interesting though.
> Mike Bloodsworth
> Tyler
> http://mikeintyler.smugmug.com/Nature/Most-Recent/Squirrel-Eats-Bird/7863

...so I responded, and figured perhaps documenting it here would be helpful as well. Because most of us don't live in caves, it's something we should think about. And if you didn't click the link above, you really need to. Poor little passerine.


I guess this means it's time for my seasonal reminder:

Check your windows!

Winter, spring and fall are more likely* to have window killed birds, but all summer you might still have birds attacking their reflections. Dead birds can be donated to local educational institutions in most cases, or if it's an Amazon Kingfisher that hit your window, Dr. Arnold already called first dibs. That said, there are plenty of first county records that show up as a result of window strikes (Scarlet Tanager in Abilene/Taylor Co, so I hear), and sometimes they confirm breeding (juv. American Robin in Abi/Taylor Co).

* St. Louis area being my sample size, <4% of annual collisions were May-July (but their migration starts earlier, too)

Hummingbirds were extremely prone to hitting windows with my sample (25 hummers of ~200 birds, not including half a dozen more hummers that died in rehab). And yes, there were at least 2 known Ruby-throats eaten by squirrels during the project and quite a few mangled carcasses suggested that the occasional campus fox/raccoon/small child got to them before I did. I just hope they were already dead first.

Of course, the preferable option is to prevent window strikes:

EDIT: here's the ABC window pdf!

And if you can't stop them, join them:
TCWC - http://wfscnet.tamu.edu/tcwc/tcwc.htm

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