Painful Panes

Today I watched as two little chickadees hit the glass pane in my deck railing. I found a candle and went outside to scribble wax all over the pane so the birds could see it better. I had thought the glass was dirty enough after all the storms so the birds could tell it was glass, but unfortunately they couldn’t. I felt just sick when one of the chickadees lay on his side and looked as if he would die shortly. His brother sat on the lower part of the railing waiting for him to come fly away with him. dscn7427

When I came outside with the candle, the chickadee who was not hit as hard flew away, but the other one stayed on the deck, lying on his side. After scribbling on the pane to prevent more casualties, I went over to the little bird. He let me pick him up. He sat in my hand and perked up a tiny bit. I thought maybe keeping him warm might help him recover. Maybe he wouldn’t die after all.


He made a little mess on my hand but I didn’t mind. I just wanted him to live. I packed him around for about half an hour and he still didn’t want to fly. Sometimes he let his head droop and I worried that this was the end. I tucked my hand inside my vest with the cloth not touching him, so he would be warm and in the dark. Then I came in to continue writing the next chapter of my novel.

Back on the deck, I tried again to get him to fly away, but he seemed to want to cling to my finger. I paced the deck, wondering what to do. Finally I set him down in the place where his brother had waited for him. He sat there for another ten minutes. When I went to pick him up again, he chirped “Goodbye and thank you,” and off he flew. dscn7433

Maybe this winter when it’s really cold, he’ll come eat at the birdfeeder.


42 thoughts on “Painful Panes

  1. We tried many times reviving birds which flew into the window and many times it worked. Each bird which made it chirped a thank you. Sweet little creatures, love your pics and the story behind them!

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  2. I’m so glad, Anneli, that this little one recovered. Thank you ever so much for your helping it.
    Those window panes really are a danger to birds, aren’t they? We have the same problem here, with our living-room windows and glass doors. Sometimes I’ve thought of glueing silhouettes of birds of prey to them to make other birds aware of the fact that there is a barrier and to scare them away.

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    • Windows are so hard on birds. In residences, I think skylights are the worst for hummingbirds, and corner windows are bad for songbirds. It’s terrible how they have to sweep up songbirds from the sidewalks in cities because of birds hitting the lit up windows at night. My glass panes in the deck will be removed soon and spindles put in their place.


  3. Great story and pictures. Yes this happens at our place too. I thought a song bird had died when he hit the window, but much later he perked up and flew away. However we lost 2 hummingbirds last summer. So sad.

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    • I hang sun-catchers in my windows and that usually works, but decals would be even better. Thanks for the tip and the link. There’s something special about chickadees. Maybe it’s the way they are so trusting and friendly. They come close and pick things (bugs) off the window frames and that suits me just fine. Love having them around.

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    • My mother was always kind to birds and all animals (as I said in another post – even to spiders -shudders), but all my brothers and sisters and I are animal lovers and were taught to feel compassion for living things. I think love starts with the smallest living things – skip the spiders … and okay, I don’t care for flies. …


  4. Oh my goodness, Anneli! You really did a wonderful “good deed” when you showed this kindness and gave the little chickadee some love, Anneli. I held my breath worrying the little guy would die. Thank you for sharing this kind act!
    My son, Jamie, used to walk home from the high school along the railroad tracks and once found a mother and father duck frantically quacking! Turned out two of their ducklings were off the tracks, while two were caught in the hot creosote (tar). He gently unstuck the ones and carried them home in his ball cap. Once home, he asked me to help wash their webbed feet. We did but asked him to look up the phone number of our local park ranger. He recommended Jamie take the baby ducklings back to where he found them. Guess what? I have a photo of the ducklings in his photo album but the best picture would have been of Jamie kneeling in the grass and returning the ducklings to the worried parents. ❤

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  5. I’m crying. Why am I crying? Yes, the kindness of one individual is felt throughout the world, I do believe that. One human being can change the life of a bird, of a flock, of a species, of the world. Yes, I do believe that. But I also remember the first time I helped a small defenseless bird. I was about 8. The bird was lying by himself in our back yard. I put him in a box and added lots of grass. Even looked for a worm. Tried to keep him warm and protected. But over the next 30 minutes I watched him slowly die. A big lesson for a little girl. And then I cried, inconsolably, for days.
    But I’d still do it again. Thank you for helping this little chickadee. xo

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    • It’s so wonderful when they survive, but they don’t always, as you found out so painfully. I feel terrible when a bird hits our windows. I feel as if I’d killed the bird myself, so if I can save one, it makes me feel a bit better, and I’m happy to have one bird more rather than fewer.

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