If you have bird feeders and trees at your home, and a few big windows too, you’re likely to have a couple of window crashes per year – but you might not know it.

Architects, builders, and the lighting-use habits of city building owners do little to fix their inappropriate lights and reflections that confuse birds. But homeowners can do a lot to help: by being careful where they hang their bird feeder (ask: what will a startled bird fly towards?) and by putting non-reflective tape and decals on windows so that birds realize it’s not a real window of sky to fly through. Crashes tend to happen in the early morning.

Here’s what happened to me. On April 15th at around 8:30, I was gazing out my patio door at my beloved house sparrows and some starlings, when what falls from above, but a wee kinglet. It had spread its wings as it landed next to the sill of the door. It had a better fate than if I had been a gull, as many city gulls actually do: stand around and wait for window-crashers to eat!

I swooped in and picked it up with a bander’s grip. I brought it inside and made it a convalescence box. I fashioned a napkin “donut” to rest on, as it fell over on its side when I put it in the box. Birds cannot lie on their sides, because, as it can be with large animals, it is hard for them to breathe. I let it rest, and after a few minutes it looked less stunned, so I took some photos.

Kinglet in a convalescence box

You can see the touch of orange in his cap that means it’s a male

About half an hour later, it flew out of its box and took a tour of my main floor. I filmed its flight and it seemed quite agile and comfortable, going from indoor perch to indoor perch.

I caught it again when it got into my bean plants at the patio window. I took a whole bunch of finger-perching pics while taking it outside, and it stayed on my finger all the way until I transferred it to a hanging honey locust branch. From there, it flew up to a branch in my tall cedar, and then it flew off.

Being so close to downtown, I’ve had other migrating birds stop by to enjoy my tall tree and burbling pond. I never expected a visit from this particular bird, but I’m glad it turned out better than it might have.


Also published on Medium.