Monday, March 15, 2010

First of the year Red-winged Blackbirds, and how to prevent window strikes

This morning while sitting at my computer reading the NYT I heard the familiar Konkaree outside, the first of the year for me: Three pairs of Red-winged Blackbirds were busy working and picking over the grassy field next to our house.

The crab apple tree with the feeder was a-flutter with Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and a couple of Gold Finches still in winter dress. A White-breasted Nuthatch extracted a seed and then flew off to a nearby twig.

On a different, and sad note, a bright red male Cardinal  struck our picture window in front and dropped down dead. In the fall I had drawn patterns on the outside with a soap bar, along with affixing two "Warning Web" decals from Droll  Yankees to the outside glass. It looked goofy but it must have worked since we hadn't had any strikes all winter. But the window had started to look so grimy and the decals had acquired brown stains along the edges, that I finally decided to clean it ---to my great regret. I did some research and came up with a different solution: I bought two Feather Guards from Birders' Digest. Those are 5' strings with colored feathers attached to them which are hung from the window with suction cups. Supposedly this warns the birds off by motion, color and loose feathers, to which birds have natural, probably predator induced aversion.
I'll report back on the success.


  1. Such nice photos, and I love the colors in your top image. How very sad about the Cardinal. It's awful when that happens, so I hope your new window solution works! Keep us posted.

  2. The song of the Red-winged Blackbird is one of the best in the world - in my opinion! Sure beats nightingales (who are still a few 100 km's south of me anyway).

    Windowstrikes are always tragic, I just hope the feather strings work.

    Aaaaand: nice pics, but that's your usual routine anyway, right?

  3. Thanks, Erica. Thanks, Jochen. Once the RWBs are in full swing, I'll record the song and put it on my website. I'll keep you posted on the feather strings.


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