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Thursday, July 23, 2015

In Search of a Solution for Bird Window Collisions

One of the many things I love about my native England is the house names.  Proud owners of anything from the most humble cottage to the grandest estate give their homes a name. The name may be the family name, as in "Hartford Manor", or it may be inspired by the environs of the house, as in "Meadow View Lodge" or "Lakeside Cottage."

A while back, Eric and I, just for fun, were trying to come up with a name of our house.  We thought of "Pine Villa" and "Squirrel's Rest", but eventually, we lost the pine tree, and the wooded lots either side of our house were built on, so those names no longer fit.

One recurring name that kept coming up was "Dove's Demise".  Not exactly something one would want on a slate by the front door, but in our case over the years it would be considered an appropriate name.

As much as I like to garden for wildlife, and keep the feeders and birdbaths filled, an alarming number of birds, mostly Mourning or White Winged doves, have crashed into the windows across the back of our house and died.

This photo gives you  gives you a good idea why.  I was standing by the bird bath and bird feeder when I took it, and you can see that the blue sky is reflected in the windows.

What often happens is that a truck or something noisy will come along the road behind our wall and startle the birds, who will take flight and scatter en masse. They don't perceive the glass, but just see the sky reflected and think they can fly through.  Inside the house we hear a loud *thunk* and look out to see a bird lying dead on the patio with a broken neck.

We're running out of places to bury them. :-(

We have tried various stickers on the windows with not much success, so I started searching for a better solution.

That's when I found The Bird Screen Company

The screens aren't expensive and they are easy to install - I was able to install them myself last weekend using the suction cup mount option that was included. 

 As you can see, they are made of black vinyl screen and hang several inches from the window and are secured top and bottom to give tension.  From inside the house, they do not block the view and should a bird happen to hit the screen, it softens the impact, allowing the bird to fly away unharmed.

You can read the history of how they were developed here.

So far, I have installed them on the three living room windows, and the patio door, which were the windows that have been involved in the most bird collisions. (Haven't done the dining room yet - the windows on the right)

I'm hopeful that the birds in our garden will be safer and we no longer have to call our house "Dove's Demise".

If you've ever thought about giving your house a name, or even if you haven't, you might enjoy this House Naming Guide.

Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.


looloolooweez said...

Oh, it's too bad about all those birds. But I love the idea of naming your house -- what a charming thing to do!

Dorothy Borders said...

It sounds like you've found a solution to a very distressing problem. Good for you for doing the research to find it.

I, too, have often thought about naming our place, but I've never been able to find the perfect name. Maybe the site that you mentioned will help.

Rock rose said...

We have had several birds hit our windows too. The last was a cardinal. The male sa in the tree by her until I picked her up and took her away. Glad to hear of this product. Thanks.

Carol said...

This happens to us often too, but fortunately, they hit the screens and not the glass-most of the time. When we moved to Texas from Mobile, AL, we decided our "ranch" (2/3 of an acre and no livestock except, poodles, birds, squirrels and bunnies) needed a name. Silver Hill is a small town in Alabama we love and always thought we would retire to one day, so Silver Hill Ranch was born. I love the way homes in England are named. Hope you have good luck with the screens keeping the birds from flying into the windows.

George said...

Hi Jayne,
Do you remember the name of Nanny Clarke's house?It was Auld Reekie
Which of course was Edinburgh the city of her birth.It means Old Smokey.
Love Dad

Jayne said...

How sad to hear about the cardinal, Rock Rose.

Jayne said...

I like the name Silver Hill Ranch, Carol. It has a nice ring to it :-)

Jayne said...

Hi Dad. I had forgotten the name of Nanny Clarke's house, but I do remember that her boxer dog was called Texan. And here I ended up living in Texas.
Love to you and mum.

Kathleen Scott said...

Jayne, thank you for this! We need bird guards too. I'm going to check the screens out.

Love the idea of naming the house. Now that we're in the construction phase of building terraced beds in our sloping backyard, it could be Heartbreak Hill.