Dangers of Glass

Painful though parting be, I bow to you as I see you off to distant clouds. ~Emperor Saga, 52nd emperor of Japan


Two birds playing on a sunny Spring day
Flew too close to a shiny glass building
And crash landed.
The closer one was merely stunned.
Sat on the sidewalk blinking and gathering its bearings.
The farther one wasn’t as fortunate
And lay on its back, feet skyward.
Maybe it hit the glass too hard.
Maybe it hit the glass wrong.
Maybe it wasn’t as physically strong.
A nearby maintenance fellow with a sack
Explained he’d already picked up several
Of the delicate creatures this week.
All were dead.
Shouldn’t man with his knowledge do better
Than construct buildings that attract wildlife
To their death?

Note: Did you know up to a billion birds die every year in the U.S. after colliding with windows?

32 thoughts on “Dangers of Glass

  1. Oh, poor little thing! I know – we seem to go on doing things we know cause problems for other creatures. We’re really not very good at sharing this planet we live on, are we?

    • That’s a profound statement, FF, and so true. I wonder why we humans can’t find creative ways to prevent birds from slamming themselves to death like this. I looked into that tiny bird’s eyes, and my heart just melted!

  2. They fly into my picture window a lot in the fall after feasting on the Pyracantha berries…I think they might get a bit intoxicated, no casualties just stunned for a moment or so. It doesn’t happen often otherwise, but still I hurt every time I hear that thud.

    • Casualties are bad enough, but the deaths really concern me. One summer, we had a cardinal that repeatedly slammed into the window — guess he was on “attack mode” — and eventually, we had the offending tree removed.

  3. I was surprised to read that a high percentage of collisions take place not with skyscrapers, but with buildings 4-11 stories tall. A friend had a dove fly into her front door, and leave a full body imprint, wings spread. The dove was fine — after a few minutes’ recovery. And suzicate’s right about the fermented pyracantha and other berries. I have to admit I’ve laughed at drunken robins.

    • That statistic surprised me, too. The building I saw these two birds near was about two stories high and completely glassed on one side — beautiful, but a magnet for the birds. And, reading Suzi’s comment about the pyracantha berries reminded me of your recent post about just that very thing!

  4. “Did you know up to a billion birds die every year in the U.S. after colliding with windows?”

    Wow, Debbie…I had no idea how high the amount was of birds who died after colliding with windows. However, living in a city with a lot of tall, windowed buildings, I do see that happen frequently. Quite often I spot poor little birdies lying on the sidewalk after their collisions.

    I also have to mention that I found the same dangerous thing to be true with dogs after my family moved to Florida. where every home has sliding glass doors. When we first moved there, it took our dog quite a while to get used to our sliding glass doors that when from the outside pool area to the den. Our poor dog hit her head many times at first because she was not used to all-glass doors. What we finally did to help her out was to place window decals on the outside of the sliding glass doors (and low enough) so that she could see that it was a door and not just an opening. Eventually, she got used to it.

    Hope you’re having a great week, my friend!

    • I was surprised at that statistic, too. Of course, when you consider all the windows on all the buildings across the entire United States, maybe we shouldn’t be so amazed.

      You know, I’ve heard that dogs do that with glass sliding doors. And even people do it! Guess that’s why affixing decals or something to the glass helps everyone remember that it’s there. Sorry your poor doggin bumped her head so many times before she learned — I’ll bet that hurt.

      Happy rest of your week, Ron! xo

    • Hi, L.T., and Welcome! Your name looks familiar — perhaps we read some of the same blogs?? At any rate, it’s always grand seeing new faces around here intermixed with the more regular visitors, and I appreciate your letting me know you were here with your lovely comment. Our local paper used to remind us in wintertime to feed the birds, and you’re right…it’s so rewarding to do so!

      • Likewise hello 🙂 Yes, we do read some of the same blogs, and your post about birds caught my eye. I had not thought about them flying into tall, glass buildings, although I know there are a lot of issues with airplanes 😦 Very rewarding indeed to help them!

    • Poor little things. Guess their heads aren’t big enough for them to have huge brains…and they’re likely more fixated on survival than fretting over sparkly architecture!

    • Thanks, Audrey. Always appreciate a warm compliment! I know what you mean about the sudden Thump of a bird hitting a window. I hate having to go outside, scoop them up, and toss them over the fence, too. It’s merely an aggravation for me; sadly, it’s a life and death matter for them.

    • Poor little things. Their lives are short enough as it is, without watching them crash into windows. Hmm…wonder if the heat really does have something to do with it. I can’t say for sure because it wasn’t exactly a warm day when I saw these two, but you might be onto something!

  5. I did not know that statistic. That is SO sad! You would think that if we can construct such buildings, we could also come up with a method to steer our feathered friends away from the danger.

    • Isn’t that the truth, Tee? Apparently, they see the reflection of clouds and trees and think there’s a wide open space for them to fly into. Must be a shocking reality when they slam into a building. Sigh.

  6. Poor thing. We had a big picture window in our house in Colorado and so often, when the sun was just right (or wrong for the poor winged creatures) they’d fly into it, scaring us with the crash sound – and we’d find blue birds, pretty yellow and black feathered birds, either stunned or dead. We had lots of coyotes and foxes nearby too and they often hauled off with them. At least nature takes care of the cycle but we never meant the window as a trap or a snare or a means of harm to them.

    • Kind of makes me wonder whether we really need to be washing our windows to a sparkly shine, huh?!! You’re right, though — nature is cruel enough without our adding to it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.