Hummingbirds and Windows
Drama unfolded in my small semi-urban rewilded yard recently when two ruby-throated hummingbirds, probably engrossed in a territorial dispute. bumped into my back door window. I immediately knew what that distinct and awful sound was and ran to the door to see both on the ground. My heart dropped. I knew that if a bird flies away within a couple minutes it is most likely stunned and has a better chance of not being gravely injured, but the statistics are grim. Around 65% of window collisions are fatal and around one billion birds die from them each year. I hoped the soft, spongy back door mat helped cushion the fall for the hummingbirds.
One hummingbird got up and flew away almost immediately. I went outside to check on the second hummingbird. I gently put him on his feet and he quickly perked up and also flew away. Within seconds two other hummingbirds appeared around him and the three danced off together. I choose to believe they were the hummingbird's family or friends making sure he was okay and not a sign of another battle brewing.
This experience was painful because window strikes are one of the top human-related reasons for bird deaths and I have worked to prevent this. I put a large leaf decal on my back door and surrounded it with rows of dots 4 inches apart with a glass pen wet wipe marker (easily found where office or art supplies are sold). I do this to windows that don’t have smaller panes. Nothing is fools proof, and thankfully this is the first time a bird has hit one of my windows. I hope this was just a matter of the two hummingbirds being distracted because it doesn’t seem like both would intentionally fly at the window at the same time. Of course it also happened on Friday the 13th!
Just in case I added a few more dots with the glass pen.