Q: We keep having a problem with a bird that slams against our glass door. What can we do?
Answer: “This problem usually occurs during birds’ breeding cycles, and it almost always involves male birds,” said Ron Morris, who writes the Birds-Eye View column in the Journal. “The bird perceives its reflection in a window or mirror as a competitor and tries to drive it away.”
Cardinals, mockingbirds and robins are particularly inclined to engage in this behavior, he said.
“The solution is to somehow eliminate the reflections, for example, by covering the reflective surface. This can sometimes be a challenge, though, because the bird may find its reflection in another window.”
Birds simply can’t tell reflection from reality, according to the American Bird Conservancy. “Even if a bird flies away after striking a window, it may die elsewhere as a result of the collision.”
Between 365 million and 988 million birds die from crashing into windows in the U.S. each year, according to a 2014 report in the Washington Post.
Here are some tips from the National Audubon Society and the Cooperative Extension Service on how to prevent collisions:
- Add window decals or hang strings of Mylar, feathers on monofilament line, strung beads or bamboo sections to uniformly cover the glass surface (separated 4 inches or less in vertical columns or 2 inches or less in horizontal rows).
- Apply tempera paint (a long-lasting, non-toxic paint that wipes off; available at craft stores) freehand with brush or sponge, or use a stencil. We have also heard of people soaping their windows for a few weeks to discourage birds.
- Cover windows with netting.
- Move bird feeders, watering areas, perches and other attractants.
“Many birds strike windows after being startled off a feeder. Bird feeders placed within 3 feet of windows can reduce fatal collisions because birds do not have an adequate distance to reach high flight velocity, “ according to Audubon.org. “Placing the feeders more than 30 feet from a window will also reduce window-collision risk because, at that distance, birds are more likely to recognize that the reflected image is part of a house and are less likely to fly toward it for safety.”
Use one-way films that consist of patterns and color shades; provide a minimal obstructed view from inside while rendering a window opaque or translucent when viewed from the outside.
Q: In response to your recent column about running on the street, to whom do we report low-hanging tree branches that make it impossible in some areas to run on the sidewalks? I know of two people who suffered scalp lacerations trying to crouch under trees while running.
Answer: Issues such as that should be reported to City Link 311, which will pass the request to the appropriate department to handle.
“If the issues are caused by resident-maintained vegetation, a letter will be sent to the owner notifying them of the need for them to correct the problem,” said Keith Finch, head of vegetation management for the city. If the issue is caused by city-maintained vegetation, the city will take care of it. “also, specific addresses make it much easier to locate and address the issues,” he said.