Archive for December 14th, 2017

Clean Windows May be Dangerous to Birds

Thursday, December 14th, 2017
A deceased yellow-bellied sapsucker that flew into a clean window.

A deceased yellow-bellied sapsucker that flew into a clean window.

This is Passport to Texas

When ornithologist, Cliff Shackelford, visited the studio recently, he brought with him a small, lifeless bird.

And it turns out to be a yellow-bellied sapsucker.

The little woodpecker had flown into a window at Texas Parks and Wildlife headquarters. Cliff determined its sex and age by the smattering of red feathers on its head and white ones on its throat.

This is a female, yellow-bellied sapsucker, first year bird. I have a permit that allows me to salvage these and take them to a museum where it can be put up as a museum specimen for scientific use.

You’ve probably seen dead birds in your neighborhood.

Bird deaths are rampant in urban areas [from] windows and/or housecats. You can’t take the killer out of a cat. And then windows: go outside—try to take the perspective of a bird. Look at the window. You’ll see blue skies and white clouds, and the trees. It’s all a reflection of what’s behind you.

Birds, especially the young and inexperienced, fly into the reflection because it looks like clear passage.

The really sad part is, this bird doesn’t breed in Texas or anywhere close to Texas. This is a winter bird. And actually, I haven’t seen one yet this fall. It’s sad that the first one [I see] is a dead one in my hand.

As a museum specimen, researchers will study the little bird to better understand her species.

Her death is not in vain, but tens of thousands of birds across the planet die every day by hitting windows.

As good a reason as any not to wash your windows. The Wildlife Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.