Wednesday, April 09, 2008
Preventing Bird Window Strikes
A number of birders have visited the hospital to view the Cedar and Bohemian Waxwings that have been feeding there. They have also had opportunity to see our very well fed Coopers Hawks in action. Our hospital has lots of windows providing natural light that is very enjoyable. The grounds are lovely and it is a good environment for patients and staff, but there is an ongoing danger for birds here.
One of the members of the local birding forum sent me this email last week after he watched the hawk pick up a bird in the doorway.
... the glass door there, is a classic bird killer, could hardly be better designed for the purpose. Even with the signs and so on, there's a clear metre or so of beautifully clean glass showing the nice empty quad beyond, with a good view of sky and even some trees. And of course, the walls angle in on both sides, and there's that canopy above - once a bird is in there, the glass is the only escape route.
I'm wondering if you can ask the hospital maintenance people to do something about this - it wouldn't be difficult. All that is needed is something to make that way look less like an opening, so that the birds at least have a chance - they'll dash to one side or the other, back towards the fruit trees. A screen of some kind, some sort of horizontal blinds to break up the view, would work. I imagine it being hung on the quad side, since there may be complications putting it on the door side.
BTW, you know those stickers that are sold for this purpose? The ones that look like little falcon silhouettes? I don't know if they work - about half the things I read say they do, and half are adamant that they don't. Better to obscure the view completely, by diffusing it somehow.
This is the walkway leading up to the sliding doors. The chapel opposite the door also has reflective windows and the branches of the fruit trees that have attracted the birds is to the right. The Coopers Hawks have a nest in the pines to the left of the picture.
This is the walkway between the second floors of the two sections of the hospital. The courtyard is on the left and windows line the corridor. This is another area that is known for bird strikes because of the double set of windows. There are so many windows here! We had a wonderful maintenance man who really cared about the grounds and the birds. He was recently laid off and as of April 1st, the hospital now has an outside contract for care of the grounds. I couldn't find out who got the contract, but it is unlikely that they will be sympathetic or helpful with the bird problem.
My daughter took this picture of me collecting a couple of dead birds outside my office window. Our window feeders do not seem to be a problem as the types of birds that visit them are not dying. I would be willing to buy some of the bird stickers that are supposed to help make windows safer, but the reviews on them are mixed. Any suggestions would be welcome. It would take forever to get the hospital to consider putting up extra blinds, even if someone else paid for them.
Are the stickers a worthwhile investment? Please comment if you have any suggestions.