Saturday, March 28, 2009

GETTING READY FOR THE MIGRATION

(click on photos)

Living within sight of Point Pelee, I see a tremendous increase of migrating birds in my neighborhood. While many are passing through on their way to the mosquito-rich boreal lands, all the summer residents of SW Ontario will move back into their summer residences, build nests and look for food. Since I feed birds all winter and much of the summer, too, I like to make it as safe for them as possible. Soon I'll be moving the main seed feeder away from the lilac bush and back to the red maple by the breakwall. That means it's time to renew the "anti-window strike" system on the back windows. This consists of horizontal lengths of clothesline across the top and bottom of the bank of windows, and then fluttering yellow "crime scene" tape strung in between.

This year I'm experimenting with two types of arrangement. The window in the corner (where my computer is) has the "old" kind. In the last year, the tape has gotten thinner as the manufacturer cuts corners to keep the price reasonable. My first tape lasted almost two years, but lately it's only lasted for a few storms. So the rest of the windows have poly rope strings on them, with tape strips added. We'll see what works best. I have all summer to test it. It's easy to replace a broken strip in summer, but not when it's bitter cold, with a mean wind and snow up to my knees! Whatever goes up in November has to last! This year the strips all ripped, and I had one tree sparrow casualty. He was arguing over a patch of seed with another tree sparrow, and they
took to the air in an aerial dogfight. When they came up on the window, the second sparrow was able to bank a turn in time, but the first one never had a chance. I don't know if flutter-strips would have helped at that speed. I'll still get the occasional strike, but with the strips, it usually a soft hit, and the bird can fly off. The big problem is that these windows have that thermal film on them, and while that makes them R-factor friendly, the reflection of the lake and sky would be treacherous without something to slow the birds down. So, here are a couple of photos of my backyard - open and ready for business!

5 comments:

Sylvia K said...

The birds are lucky to have you in their neighborhood!

Robert V. Sobczak said...

It's little tricks like that which can make a big difference. Those sparrows do fly fast ...

Indrani said...

How much you observe and you explain in such details too.

Kathiesbirds said...

Deborah, Julie Zickefoose wrote an excellent article about window strikes and how to prevent them after her beloved Ruby was killed by striking her window. She came up with a great system that still allows her to photograph through the glass but keeps the birds safe. She has step by step instructions in the last issue of Brid Watcher's Digest. Perhaps it would work for you too.

BTW, I love your little house and I am so glad you care so much about the birds that you are willing to string crime scene tape all over it!

Migration has begun down here also. I had my first White-winged dove yesterday and an Oriole the day before that!

Ruth said...

We had many fatal bird strikes last March and April at the hospital and I would walk around and pick up the birds each day. I couldn't get any one in maintenance or administration interested in the problem. There are a lot of windows.