Sunday, February 17, 2008

Thunk! …Another Bird Down

It turns my stomach when I hear that noise; the horrible thud of a bird hitting my window. I run out to pick the bird up before cats can get to it, if it has fallen and I can find it. They do not, anymore, always hit so hard as to fall, but in the past I have found a raptor, several hummingbirds, all manner of songbirds at either my cabin or at this new home…and last week, a chickadee which died. I nearly cried. While most birds, including the raptor and several many hummingbirds, seem to recover just fine after about an hour in a dark box in a quiet corner…I understand at least half recover enough to fly off and die later. It’s too sad.

I think it is both disgusting and irresponsible to let this happen. Having said that, I am balking at what is touted to be the perfect solution; a film, the same stuff you see on buses these days, applied to the outside of the window to remove the reflection a bird sees from the yard. You know the stuff, they paint it with advertising on the outside yet people inside still enjoy the view out.

While waiting for the sample, I hung (quite loosely; thinking the folds shifting in the wind would help) black bird netting outside the large, murderous kitchen window I just had installed to watch wildlife in my yard, as well as over the old back-door with all it’s small panes. And talk about a pain! I imagined the netting was temporary, and so it requires regular re-application of tape to hold it up against the window. The stuff is also ill-fitting on the door, and sometimes snags my (very large) dog, on his way out to scatter squirrels that eat at my feeders.

I want to not only watch, but photograph birds from my big, new kitchen window. The netting gets in the way…but not badly; my and my camer's lens seem able to focus past the stuff (when I use the camera properly, I mean.) Having applied a 1-foot square of this new film to my window, I am completely discouraged…and feeling guilty as the dickens. I hate the stuff! My window is 4’ tall and 5’ wide and is flanked by two more angled to the side. The other two have screens which make viewing and photography more than difficult. This film is worse than the window-screening! I hate it. I like the fact that my bay-window is south-facing and allows the sun to heat up my new porcelain floor. This is Colorado, after all…and solar heat helps! Besides, this film is stark white from the outside and black on the inside. In spite of the very many holes in the stuff…it makes the room considerably darker. I was told it cuts down on UV rays. Well, duh! I bet it’s dark enough to contribute significantly to SAD, too. I can see applying the stuff to huge office buildings where people don’t sit dreamily looking out the window for hours while watching wildlife…but I just don’t think it’s gonna work on my windows at home. Dammit, I was so hopeful, too!

I am wondering if I might find something in a slightly tighter ‘weave’ than the bird netting. By and large, I cannot really ‘see’ the stuff from inside my house, but I suspect even if it is drawn taut, birds will hit the glass. I have imagined building different frames to hold the netting, to keep it tight and yet using hinges to move the frame out of the way and allow cleaning of the window. Perhaps if I build a frame that holds it maybe 4-6 inches away from the window? I wonder if that would stop the poor things from hitting the window…and not propel them backwards into the pond I hope to build! OMG…what a thought!

I don’t think I can darken my new kitchen after spending so much to get it; it would be too depressing on so many levels…and the netting is making a pretty good difference already. Still, I hate how many birds deaths there are, for which I’m responsible. Has anybody an idea how to resolve this dilemma? I sure would appreciate help.

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