The forecast was so encouraging this morning, at least for today. (Tomorrow is quite another story).
|Sunrise over downtown Binghamton, New York 3-11-14|
Flocks of pigeons heard also, and took off into the air. I watched them wheeling through the sky in their avoidance maneuvers and knew that spring would be coming - for good, one day soon.
I am not a birder, but I love birds. I have loved birds from my earliest moments of my Bronx childhood, when I visited my aunt's house and fell in love with her pet canary.
This beloved aunt would take me to the Bronx Zoo, which was perhaps a couple of miles from her apartment in the Bronx. She would want to visit the big cats. I wanted to visit the bird aviary. We always ended up compromising. Meanwhile, at home I would watch my Mom feed the local birds with slices of white bread. (Not healthy, but that's what people did in the 1950's.)
Then I grew up. I don't have bird feeders, or bird houses (although that will change this spring), but I love to watch the birds. It seems so many gardeners do, and it is no wonder. Birds and humans are linked in some wonderful ways. But sometimes, the relationship kills.
One of the blogs I like to read is GardeninaCity. Back in February I devoured a post called "When Birds Collide".
The subject was passive bird collisions - that is, birds colliding with stationery houses. Your house, maybe my house. Many of our houses have murdered at least one bird by just being there. Fess up, homeowners. You know it is true.
According to statistics quoted by that blog post, the average American house may kill from one to three birds each year.
You may see a stunned bird seem to recover, and fly off, but apparently most of those birds are doomed.
That's a heartbreaking statistic for anyone who loves birds.
So what can be done? I will take the liberty of quoting from that blog post:
"Recommended steps to reduce bird deaths from window strikes include:
- Keep feeders within one foot of your windows. This prevents birds from building up speed before a crash. In our garden I don’t think this would be practical, as being close to the windows would convert bird feeders into squirrel feeders.
- You can deck your windows with string, tape, decals or a special bird tape produced by the American Bird Conservancy.
- Keep the window screens on or hang fine netting over your windows."
And can you help a stunned bird you see near your house? Maybe.
It is possible that technology will come to the rescue of our feathered friends.
Until then - let's safeguard the birds who brighten our spring sunrises, and our spring days.