looking back, I have probably shot at least a thousand birds over my life. Luckily for my winged friends (with the exception of two) these shots have all been with a shutter release and not with projectiles. However, I must confess that indirectly I have shortened the life of a few. Call me a softie, but this always saddens me a little when I think about how much pleasure I get from watching them gather around my feeders. The irony of it all is that the feeders are often the catalyst for their accidental demise. To fully experience living in the country, we architected our house to provide nice views into the surrounding woods. This translated into a large amount of glass, the evil nemesis of all Aves. Every once in awhile we hear a loud bang in the living room. Being familiar with the common cause of this startling noise, I reluctantly head towards the windows. Inevitably, this is the typical scene:
A perfectly good bird cut down by the magic of sand and a small cavity for brain matter. Actually, I’ve seen humans walk into glass doors as well, so not sure how much the brain size plays into this particular situation. By a general rule of thumb, the survival rate is directly proportional to the volume of the impact. Through extensive trial and error, I’ve been able to improve this rate at least a little bit. The success is dependent on how quick you can come to the aid of the injured bird. Upon impact, the bird often loses consciousness and drops backwards onto the porch – the reasoning behind this still needs further research. If the bird doesn’t snap it’s neck, it will show signs of convulsions both with fluttering wings and spastic feet. This is exactly the state I found the bird pictured above (note I had the camera in my hand already taking pictures of some other subjects). If you can get to the bird in this state, you must immediately flip it back over on its feet/belly. If you leave it upside down, it will die every time (my apologies to all the failed experiments before this was figured out). Kind of reminds me of my mode of operation with my drunk friends in college, but let’s stay on topic.
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