Friday, April 8, 2016

Save the Birds (from our doors)

I've had a super unproductive day sitting on the couch. In the middle of it, a bird flew into one of our giant balcony doors.

I didn't actually see the impact; I heard the "THWACK!" and saw a bunch of feathers flying through the air. It was exactly like a cartoon, but with more crying. The bird looked like a goner. It was splatted on the tile, but it was still breathing when I very reluctantly peeked out at it. I shut Bella in the kitchen, put on my gloves, and got a little box ready so the poor thing could die in peace. By the time I got back to the door, the bird was standing again, though stunned. I slowly pulled the curtains in front of the glass, then sat down and monitored from inside at a distance. Five minutes later, the bird had recovered enough to fly away. It left a few parting gifts. Along with the thwack mark on the window, it left a good pile of feathers, and a nice, healthy crap.

This is the second time I've witnessed a bird crashing into that glass. Neither have died on impact, but I'm hoping against hope they were both able to survive the internal injuries. I did a bit of Google research, and learned that 1 out of every 2 window strikes are fatal to birds. In the U.S. and Canada, something like 600 million birds die in window strikes every year. I feel really horrible about this. You can blame hormones, or having too much time on my hands, or whatever you want, but I hate seeing the little things suffering, and I'm determined to do something about it.

Help me figure out how to stop this from happening. Here's what we're up against:

The glass doors, in total, are about 22 ft long, and 8 ft tall. We have curtains hanging inside, and metal shutters on the outside. If we put down the metal shutters, they completely block the light and the view. If we don't put them down...

...hey there! This is why birds are flying directly into our windows at full speed. The reflection is great for privacy inside the house, but not so great for birds who don't want to die outside the house.

Here are some options I was able to brainstorm:

1) Window decals. If I get these, I'd have to have place one about every four inches.

2) UV Liquid for the windows. It's either helpful and effective, or unhelpful and ineffective, depending on which reviews you read. 

3) Bug-Off Screen Door. I want these so I can surreptitiously leave the doors open during the day, and Phil won't know when he comes home. The bugs give me away at present. "Did you leave the doors open today?" as a bug flies by his head. "Noo." I think these would work for the birds, too, because they'd break up the reflection. I don't know. 

4) LED Curtain string lights, like the ones in these pictures. If I can't get the screen doors, this would probably be my second choice, because it's festive.

5) Some sort of homemade bead or ribbon curtain thing, like the hippie, Pinterest stuff in these pictures. Imagine how much time, money, and cursing would go into this project, and it would probably still look pretty tacky.

Phil came home from work and told me I should keep the curtains pulled across the window because he doesn't want to spend money on anti-bird collision measures. I told him it causes me extreme emotional distress, so he'd be paying for my well-being, rather than the well-being of the birds. I don't like to think of it as impasse, I like to think of it an as opportunity to win a negotiation. Marriage is romantic.

Whatever we decide to do, let's all send out some karma for that poor, little bird. And let me know if you can think of other bird-saving options for our windows. 

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