Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Bird Just Slammed into my Window, Now What?

     We seem to be in the age of social media where these heart-felt stories of ordinary people rescuing animals are viral and rampant. Not a lot of folks realize that ordinary people of course feel compelled to help, but many times we risk our safety as well as the animals in doing things in an uninformed manner.
     I do not condone just jumping in to wrestle a raccoon from something it is trapped in or to pull a yogurt cup off of a skunks head-- both animals are rabies vectors and doing good can come at a cost to you. When a situation is dangerous, I advise calling your local shelter, your parks department, or your local veterinarian as they often have contacts for people who can help, safely. But one way you can assist (in a very big way) is to keep eyes on that animal (from a safe place) and your phone handy so that you can help people locate that animal.
     One animal rescue that is easy to assist and help are when little songbirds strike windows. And that is what happened today.
     In NYC, the local Audubon keeps a database (d-bird) of bird strikes so not only can you possibly assist a bird, but also help gather data to know where certain areas are dangerous to birds in terms of buildings and other glass/reflective structures.

My husband and I hear the loudest "THUD," and we look at each other and Tim finally says a bird flew into the window. And behind me I see feathers and one of those"holy crud this is so scary I am pooping" poops on the window.
I go outside to see a Northern Mocking bird laying on the concrete in the basement window well. I picked him up and he vocalized but didn't struggle - he was clearly stunned. I had Tim fetch a box.
In a box he went, placing a stunned bird into a box- and closing it up provides a dark, quiet place for them to calm and recuperate, at first this bird just laid as it was placed. 

Before even closing up the box, he made it to his feet - I had high hopes for him.
I left him alone in his box for 5 or so minutes, closed up and dark. I even placed some stuff on top of the box for we have a neighborhood cat problem - I wanted to make sure he would stay safe and also not injure himself.

I went back outside to check on him, upon opening the door I could hear he was hopping around inside the box, he was active and probably ready to go...
Thankfully this guy got a happy ending. 
Window strikes do not always end up this way. Tim was worried, what if he was hurt, or his wing is broken? Thankfully I know our local shelter has a wildlife rehabber connection as I have brought them injured wild birds before. 

     To prevent bird strikes- let your windows be imperfect- clean windows are what really confuse birds they see reflections of the sky or distant land and they keep going at full speed. Put decals or reflectors in your window, even dare I say, decorations - birds will try to avoid flying into things. 
     If you want to help the bird but are not a fan of touching things, you can simply observe- watch from afar and keep the space clear of other people and predators- if the bird flies off, celebrate, if the bird takes a long time to recuperate- then it might be time to make a call to someone (if it isn't dead). 
     In the end, I'm glad this mockingbird had a happy ending and was able to carry on among the local sparrows and starlings on our little Brooklyn Street.

Here is a bunch more info on Project Safe Flight and how we can build a plan better while considering urban birds & wildlife: http://www.nycaudubon.org/project-safe-flight