Saturday, October 9, 2010

(1) More small passerines; and (2) how do you prevent deadly windowstrikes?

The other day I walked up the Nature Conservancy trail that leads from the West River up to Black Mountain. Just as I reached the gate a Blue-headed Vireo was flitting through the birches on the side of the path, foraging for insects on the leaves. It paused for a moment and sat still for a photo shoot:   

Blue-headed Vireo

Until looking at a close-up I hadn't realized that the vireo has a small hook at the tip of its beak, probably the better to hold onto a squiggly worm or beatle.

After a few seconds it spied a tasty tidbit and flew off.

Nearby a Palm Warbler sat still for a minute. but then flew off.

At the edge of the cornfield by the Marina today I saw flocks of sparrows but as usual as soon as they saw me from afar they flew off. I managed to get photos of a White-crowned Sparrow and a Savannah Sparrow. I have been looking for a Lincoln Sparrow but it has continued to elude me.  

Immature White-crowned Sparrow

Adult White-crowned Sparrow

 Savannah Sparrow. I don't know what caused the tail to curl up.

Changing the subject:, in the last few days I have become more aware of window strikes on our porch glass doors. Yesterday it was a White-breasted Nuthatch, the day before a Chickadee. Fortunately they were just stunned and flew off eventually--although I remember reading a report that the birds actually don't survive for very long after such an injury. So I have to come up with a remedy and will try this:

I painted this pattern on the glass with  a moist bar of white soap, not very pretty but it may make the birds aware of the barrier. The window shows the reflections of the leaves on the slope behind the house. Here is a view from another angle.This time you can see the deck through the glass door on the front side of the porch. I hope this will work.

This morning the sky was so full of promise.

It turned out to be a gorgeous fall day, time to get outside!

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment.


  1. Nice shots. Hopefully the window treatment will work for you.

  2. Thanks, Larry. You are so fast that your comments appeared on my preview page. When I published the post I noticed that the Savannah photos had suddenly disappeared. So I went back to edit. I am having so much trouble with the new editor!

  3. wonderful photos. Looks like a great day of birding. I know they make some vinyl stuff to put on windows that keep transparent for us but break up the pattern for birds. this might help and keep your windows see through.


  4. Interesting window treatment. We have the same problem. We've tried cutouts but interior shutters have been most effective.

    Love the Blue-headed Vireo images.

  5. The Blue-headed Vireo is exquisite! Very lovely images in this post. Thanks!

  6. Oh my goodness....your Blue-headed Vireo shots are gorgeous! I've never had one come so close to me. Love the last photo too...intense color. I've heard people say they put duct tape on the window in a pattern. Hope your method works.

  7. Wow gorgeous shots Hilke. I love them all but the vireo is just awesome... Guess that there are many ways to avoid windows strikes, one of them is to glue animal shapes on the windows ;-)

  8. Thanks Dan, Harold,Susan, Kelly and Chris, for your comments. In the past I have tried raptor decals, spiderweb decals and strings with feathers with no success. The decals have to be applied about 5 - 10 cm apart to be effective according to a study that I read. I think for now I'll stick with the soap, just make sure the broad opaque strokes are not more than 10 cm apart. If that doesn't work I'll have to go to window netting.

  9. What beautiful photos! That is an interesting idea for the window strikes. I hope it works too! Hope you're enjoying this wonderful fall weather.

  10. Thanks, Erica> I'll update the post about the window strikes, when I know more.

  11. Super close ups of the Vireo and Palm Warbler. Fortunately bird strikes here are very rare. Hope your idea works Hilke.

  12. What a lovely day! Gorgeous shots of all the birds, Hilke! I love the Vireo and the Palm Warbler is awesome.

  13. Wonderful images, Hilke. When the vireo gets into the open, it can be a curious and charming bird to photograph.

  14. Wow-to get so close to a Blue-headed Vireo to get those photos-awesome! Beautiful color on that morning sky too.

  15. Wonderful photos and it's not just birds that run into glass doors...I've done it too! :)


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