wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


48 Comments

Deadly Windows

I wonder how often you think about your windows and skylights and the bird traps they can be.

Yesterday the Captain was doing some jobs in his workshop. He had the regular door and the garage door to that building wide open as he was going in and out a lot. After he’d been in the house for a bite of lunch, he went back out to the workshop and saw this little nuthatch flying against the workshop window, trying to get out.

The nuthatch had come into the shop and then, fooled by the light, thought he could get out through the window. He kept flying at the pane of glass, trying in vain to escape, even though the door and the garage door were both still wide open. All he saw was the window and he couldn’t get through it.

The Captain used a soft trout fishing net to capture him and bring him outside. I noticed that his beak had a lot of spider webs on it. The Captain acknowledged that his workshop window is a bit cobwebby.

Luckily the nuthatch was only a bit stunned, and not seriously hurt. He sat in the Captain’s hand for a few extra seconds after I took the picture and then he flew away. I think he was one happy bird!

Do you have a skylight in a breezeway or in the covered entrance to your house? Check it for trapped birds.

If you hang a basket of flowers there, especially pink ones, you’ll kill countless hummingbirds. Even without the flowers to attract them, hummingbirds can fly in and then not realize that the sky above them is blocked off with a glass pane. They will try and try to fly up and out through that closed skylight, sometimes injuring themselves and exhausting themselves until they fall down and often times die.

This fellow is one of the two lucky ones that I helped rescue from a neighbour’s skylight.

It also reminded me that I should have kept my hummingbird feeder up especially in this colder weather. We have had hummingbirds overwinter here on Vancouver Island in the last several years, so it helps to supplement their diet when their natural food is scarce.

Flying up into the sky,

I was stopped and don’t know why,

Up I flew repeatedly,

But it soon defeated me.

I was panicked, I was tired,

Minutes more, I’d be expired.

Holding on for life so dear,

I saw Anneli coming near.

Up the ladder she did climb,

Capturing me from behind

Softly she held onto me,

Wobbling down so carefully.

Dark and warm and safe I was

Then she let me go to buzz,

Back to my own territory,

Now she’ll tell the world my story.

Please beware the window pane

Skylights fool us time and again.

Please don’t kill us with these traps

You don’t mean to kill perhaps.

But we birds are easily tricked

By the choice of panes you’ve picked.

Meanwhile we’ll be careful too

Knowing what these panes can do.


39 Comments

It’s Just Lunch

The songbirds always let it be known when there’s a killer in their midst, be it a cat, a raccoon, a hawk, or a crow. Today, it seems that every bird in my little acre was shrieking with alarm — not just the usual robin whose nest was threatened, but the chickadees, nuthatches, and many others as well. When all the birds sing happy songs, it’s background music, but when they sound like several fire alarms going off, something is wrong. I went out onto the deck to have a look.

In the tall firs next to the house, many songbirds were divebombing a preditor who sat and watched from her perch on a dead broken branch. I ran back into the house for my camera. The merlin (a small falcon) didn’t seem to care about me being there. She was either a juvenile or brazen or both. However it was, she allowed me to take many pictures, even posing a bit.

She ruffled her feathers, being Mrs. Cool. I’m not afraid of you!

??????????

The songbirds set up the alarm in the whole mini forest around my yard. A chickadee and a nuthatch, both tiny birds who are often chosen by the falcons as appetizers, bravely sat on the branch directly behind the merlin, scolding her.

The merlin merely gave them a look that said, “Who? Me?”

031

Then she looked down at the ground to see if her lunch was still there. I suspected she had done something because she had blood on her hands…er…beak.

033Yes, it was me, she says. I’m not proud of myself.

035

She shrugs her shoulders and says, “It’s just lunch.”

039My little puppy, Emma, found the falcon’s intended lunch, lying on the ground below the tree. A juvenile red-shafted northern flicker, one of my favourite birds in this area.

??????????

I was choked. I don’t want to hear another person say a word about “Mother Nature.” There is nothing “motherly” about nature. As beautiful as nature is, it is also very cruel when we apply our human values to it. But that’s how it has to be.

And I do think the falcon was sorry.

003

I waved my arms but the falcon didn’t want to fly away. It was only when I opened the big patio umbrella that she flew off. The songbirds settled down and silence hung in the air.

??????????

When I picked up the flicker, a single tail feather fell to the ground and as I walked away, I heard one lonely bird calling. It had to be the mother giving one last quavery call to say an anguished goodbye to her baby.