On the lake side of our cottage is a two-storey wall of windows which, I admit, afford us a beautiful view of our lake. After many years of living in this cottage, we learned the hard way that when the windows are sparkling clean, the birds bonk into them on an almost daily basis. Our first summer of Avian Carnage included bluejays, grosbeaks, goldfinches, chickadees (no actual deaths as they're like fuzzy ping pong balls) nuthatches, and heartbreakingly, one hummingbird.
I have fought every summer since to leave the windows dirty. The little bits of dust and detritus from the trees were enough to alert the birds that this was not a safe thoroughfare. Hey, I'm not a tidy person by any stretch of the imagination so it was no hardship for me. I could still see out the windows, and the birds benefited, so it was a win-win.
My husband didn't buy it. He's a tidy-pants dentisty type of person and those sorts of people like things clean. But whenever he brought up the subject I'd distract him with a cold beer. This worked for about ten years.
The problem is, he's also a task-oriented kind of guy. It's a weekend wasted if some chore or another isn't completed. He has a mental checklist he carries around in his head and then goes through every Sunday night. (If he spent, say, a weekend lounging on a couch reading novels and eating junk food, his disappointment in himself would be profound. I, on the other hand, think this is a perfectly reasonable way to spend a Saturday.) So on his holiday this summer, he didn't loll, he hauled out the extension ladder and washed all the windows.
Almost immediately, the bird bonking began. Earlier in the day, I'd spent an hour or so watching two young yellow-shafted northern flickers preening and hunting for bugs, figuring out how I might photograph them to the best advantage, then one of them hit a clean window and died at my feet. A few hours later, my first sighting of a Blackburnian Warbler became my last as it too hit the Freshly Washed Panes of Death.
I'd post photos but the birds died before I had the chance to take any photos if you catch my drift.
My temporary solution? I removed the lids and replaced them with strips of tin foil, which now flutter about with the slightest breeze. The reflective nature of the foil coupled with the screechy sounds as the foil scrapes the glass serves its purpose as there have been no bird deaths reported.
However it now appears that the Blair Witch has taken up residence, and the noise is unnerving in the extreme, as it sounds as though she is scraping her long filthy fingernails across the glass trying to get in.
Ideas, anyone? I've heard of these ultraviolet cutouts that can be applied to windows, that are transparent to humans but appear solid to birds. Anyone use these?