Bird brain

I don’t know if this is just happening here in Door County or if it’s around the country, but we have had a whole bunch of birds trying to fly into our windows around the house in the last month. I heard one fly into the basement window at church in Sturgeon Bay once too. What’s gotten into the birds?

This morning, I was sitting at my computer when I heard an almost earth-shattering thump against our big window in the living room. I’ve heard a lot of smaller thumps in the last month, but this one really made me jump. I knew that it must have done some damage to the bird, so I went over to the window to look and I could see some downy feathers stuck to the window. That made me really concerned.

I went outside and started pushing branches and leaves aside to look for the bird. It wasn’t where I expected it to be so I widened my search. Then I saw a movement and there it was. It was still alive, but it was not moving other than panting. I carefully picked it up and brought it up to the deck. It was a hermit thrush, a small brown bird with dark markings on a white breast and black eyes. I thought maybe the bird was just dazed and would recover and fly away, but when I tried to set it down, it tipped over on its face. The little claws on its feet were turned back behind it instead of being spread out in front. I spotted a little pot that was growing moss and clover, so I set the thrush in there where it could kind of stay up. I brought it inside so that it could warm up a bit. It tried to move and I was afraid it would start flying around the house, so I found a bag that had formerly held oranges, one of those kind that have a mesh side, and found that it was just the right size to fit around the pot. That way, the thrush could breathe, but couldn’t take off.

About that time, Mark and Tucson came home for lunch. Tucson came bounding in as usual and I told Mark to get her on her leash right away. He asked why and I told him that there was a bird in the house. He looked alarmed and asked, “How did it get in here?” I told him what had happened, showed him the spot on the window where the feathers were stuck, and showed him the bird. He thought I was crazy!

I had called my former boss from the Visitor Information Center and asked her if she knew what to do with injured birds and she told me that it probably wouldn’t survive and that I should put it out for some other creature to have for lunch, but I wasn’t fond of that idea. I figured the thrush must have really wanted to see the inside of the house to have hit the window as hard as it did, so I left it in the moss and clover pot so that it could have its last wish and then I sat down to have lunch with Mark. When lunch was over, I went to check on the bird and it was dead. At this point, I figured it wouldn’t matter to the bird anymore if another critter ate it, but I didn’t want to be the one to have to put it out, so Mark did it for me.

Has anyone else experienced birds hitting your windows this year? This hasn’t happened to us since we’ve lived here and we’re not entirely certain what to do. If you have any suggestions, let me know.

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