22 September 2009 – no casualties, but . . . .

Two stunned birds by the windows this morning.

We had a powerful cold front go through yesterday, such that it was only 60 degrees (F) this morning, with clouds, sprinkles, and a northwest wind. It’s been months since we’ve seen weather like this.

So, dark and dreary as it was this morning, I didn’t notice the first bird until it flew. All I can say is that it was a songbird, about 6″ long, with an olive-brown back and pale yellowish breast. The bird flew in front of me, hit a window at slow speed, turned around, almost hit another window, and finally made its way out of the canyon of windows on the west side of the NRC.

The second bird, a Grasshopper Sparrow, looked a lot more alert and was flying normally. It was clear that this one had also hit a window, however. When I first found it, it was on the ground in the open and pointed at a window about 6″ away. As I drew to within about 20 feet, it flew back away from the window and into a little bench area with some ornamental trees and shrubs. There is perched beneath a shrub, and eventually let me get to within about 15 feet. It otherwise looked bright and alert, so I left it there.

These two birds illustrate very well how a non-lethal window collision can make birds vulnerable to predation.

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