Sunday, May 4, 2008

Death In The Garden

I hate to be morbid, but I think this information is important to share. I was watering the potted plants around the gift shop and saw a dead bird. I thought poor little bird, and wondered why he had died. I picked him up with a napkin just in case it died of the bird flu. I examined the bird and could see no bite marks so I knew my cat was not responsible. I carried the bird to the trash can. On my way back I saw my cat had caught a gopher and he was eating it. I didn't feel bad for the gopher since the gopher provided a meal for my cat, but I was really saddened by the dead bird.

Later I came back to finish my watering and around the corner I saw another dead bird lying on the iron bench. I looked up and saw the mirror on the side of the gift shop and my heart sank. There was a perfect reflection of the willow tree in the mirror. The reflection was so realistic it looked like I could just walk right up to the tree. I knew what had happened. I had inadvertently caused the death of two beautiful birds. I realized both birds had flown into the mirror and had been killed from the impact. I carried the second bird up to the house. I quickly grabbed a can of paint from the garage and ran down to the gift shop and painted over the mirror to prevent any other birds from flying into the mirror. I am hoping someone will know what type of birds these are and will post a comment here.

Several months back I heard a pop on my window. I went outside to see what had happened. I saw a little bird lying on the ground and convulsing a bit. Since he was still alive, I picked him up and cradled him in my hands trying to keep him warm. Later he warmed up and stopped convulsing, but he seemed petrified. I tried putting the bird on a branch, but he couldn't stand up. I got my camera and took a photo of the bird in the shrub. I thought the bird wouldn't make it propped in the shrub since it was a cold day. So I got the idea to get a terry towel from the house and wrap him up in the towel only leaving a small hole for his head to peak out. I placed the bird in the towel in a small shrub in the front yard. Later, I went back to see if the bird was there and he had flown off, I was so happy. Perhaps someone knows what variety this little bird is too.

I did a some research on the Internet and read that it's estimated 90 million birds are killed each year from flying into windows. I wondered what could be done to reduce these numbers. After all, birds bring such joy to the garden with their song and beauty, not to mention the fact they reduce insect populations. Karen Bridges wrote about five easy steps onHow to Prevent Birds From Flying Into Windows.

This week I am going to do an assessment of reflection hazards around my home. I will also paint a couple of birds on the mirror. I hope if you have mirrors or window reflections in your garden you will consider some of the tips on how to prevent birds from flying into windows.