Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Close Encounter with a Window

All birders know that one of the big dangers to birds is the common, everyday window. Big windows near good habitat can be really bad for bird strikes so I wasn't surprised to find a stunned Yellow-bellied Sapsucker laying in front of one of the windows at my school yesterday morning. It didn't look good but I picked the beautiful male up from the ground, found a cardboard box in my office and put the little fellow into a quiet spot for a couple of hours.

Lo and behold I checked on him to find a bird that was alert and ready to go. Sometimes things do work out the way you hope they will. Just before release I had a student grab his camera and take a few shots for the old scrapbook.
Once we had a couple of pictures I let him go and he flew up and into a pretty brisk wind. Last I saw him he was headed north.
Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are more common in this area than most people know. In fact, when I showed the bird to some of my students they had never heard of the species. A few giggled at the name sapsucker (teenagers!).
I know that there is a chance this bird still might not survive the window strike. Sometimes birds will appear to recover but over the next day or two they can succumb to bleeding from small fractures in their skull. In spite of that I have every confidence that I might have a chance to see this guy again. My only regret is I didn't have my banding box otherwise this guy would have gotten some new jewelry before I set him free.


Modesto Viegas said...

Great post!!!

Bonnie said...

What a gorgeous bird. Glad to hear it is ok.

Dan Tallman said...

Some studies suggest that even birds that fly away from window strikes are, nevertheless, severely brain injured. These birds probably do not survive. :-(

Rita Sandstrom said...

Love them - there was one at the resort we used to go to every summer. I heard it before I saw it - we laughed because it sounded like a kid's squeeze toy!