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That Sickening Thunk!

Friday, January 6, 2006

We've all heard it: the sickening THUNK! of a bird hitting a plate-glass window. I've been hearing it way too much lately. Yesterday, it was a male goldfinch who hit hard. I kept him on the counter in a paper sack with the top rolled over until I heard him scritching and fluttering around a couple of hours later. He flew away strongly, but you never know. This morning, Bill happened to be in the studio with me when a red-bellied woodpecker hit a glancing blow. "That's it!" he said, and went to get the ladder and eight Feather Guards (a product he and a BWD subscriber named Stiles Thomas developed).

But this THUNK was much louder even than the woodpecker made. We rushed outside to find this extraordinary bird gasping its last. Who knows how it made it here from the southern oceans, only to brain itself on our reflective windows? We were sick at heart.

As Bill knelt beside it, he noticed that it was still breathing, so we both ran inside and added it to our North American life lists. It'll probably be a hot day in Antarctica the next time an Adelie penguin flies into our window, but we'll be ready. Bill got the new Featherguards up and they're fluttering against the studio windows as I write.They work really well. We have as many as four or five collisions a day in spring and fall migration, but they go to almost nothing when the FeatherGuards go up. Up here on the ridgetop, we get some wicked winds, and after a few months the feathers get all beat up or the suction cups tear off, so we do have to keep up with them. We let it go too long, and look what happened. Bummer.


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