LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Take Your Breath Away

One of the hazards of living in a house in the woods, especially one with lots of windows is the occasional heart-wrenching sound of a bird hitting a window. After a while, you can differentiate the sound of a stunned bird from a death. The other day, I heard the awful "death thump" and ran out to see the victim. It took my breath away. There on the deck lay one of our Downys. I know the guilty party...it is the Red-bellied male who has become extremely aggressive toward the Downys and Hairys for the past few weeks. Not content to drive them from the suet feeder, he furiously chases them out of the yard, deep into the forest. This poor Downy headed in the wrong direction to try to get away.



While we don't have a lot of birds hitting the windows, the hummingbirds go in such a frenzy that they occasionally hit a window or even a wall. A male hit with a light thump and landed between the slats on the deck. I picked him up and again, it took my breath away! What a thrill to feel this tiny little heart fluttering in my hands. I held him for only a short while until he recovered and flew into the trees.
NOTE for those of you looking for Wednesday Waterfalls: I am putting the waterfall posts on hold until we get more rain. The water flow over them has decreased dramatically, and while they are still great, they are not majestic. Transylvania County typically has more rainfall than any county east of the Rocky Mountains. We average more than 80 inches of rain annually, and a portion of the county is designated as a temperate rain forest. From January 2007 through May 2008 (a 17-month period) we had about 55 inches of rain. This is the driest stretch in the past 114 years. So bear with me and hope, dance, pray for rain in the NC mountains.

14 comments:

KGMom said...

Oh joy and sadness combined. I hate it when birds hit our windows--I put a raptor decal in the window to help keep them away.
And just thinking of holding a hummingbird--my oh my.

Cicero Sings said...

Window kill is so sad. We don't have large windows (sad for us but good for the birds) but the one they are most inclined to crash into is the kitchen window ... so I attached a suction/multi-branched plastic hook to it and tied streamers that flit about with the slightest breeze. Seems to do the trick ... at least for now ... and doesn't deter from my view or light either.

Jayne said...

:c( I also had a Downy baby on my deck from a window strike, and know how sad that can be. Glad the little hummer was only stunned.

jan m said...

How sad about the downy. I love watching them. I wish you rain. We were in the Smoky Mountains of NC last summer, and saw how very dry it was.

Lynne said...

So sad about the little Downy. I found a dead Ovenbird beside the house this spring. I felt so bad that he's come all this way on his spring migration only to die here.

Cool about the hummer though.
Lucky you to hold it!

Ruth said...

The hummingbird is beautiful. There are so many hazards for birds out there.

The Birdlady said...

I can hardly stand to hear these stories - People often bring me birds that have run into windows; it is so wonderful when they are only stunned - they ususlly "yell" at me as they fly off.

nina said...

Doesn't it make your heart sing to feel a hummer lift off your hand after such a scare!

scienceguy288 said...

Poor little guy. At work, I have refecting windows, so we get a lot of dive-bombing sparrows, so I had to put up a raptor decal to minimize the number of kills.

Kerri said...

I too have had to put a distraction in one of my windows that the birds always seem to fly into. So sad! But glad the hummer survived...what a fabulous picture of him being held! WOW!

Mary said...

We're all praying for rain, aren't we? The news stations are emphasizing the severety of the drought again - this time more severe than before.

Breaks my heart to see that little Downy. Window strikes are so sad.

Your held that little green gem? How wonderful!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for the comments, all. I hesitated to put the picture of the Downy in the post, but that's the only way one can truly appreciate the loss of such a perfect little bird.

Yes, it was wonderful to hold the hummingbird, and my heart did sing when he recovered and flew away. He flew to a nearby tree and then to the feeder, so I'm fairly certain he had no lasting damage.

Toni said...

Hi Carolyn

I know I won't be able to get to every post so stopped here to comment. Birds do take my breath away also. How sad for the downy. And you got t hold the hummingbird even for a brief moment. Breathtaking. I should be getting up to speed on blogging soon

Steve B said...

I used to have this problem in Colorado. In the six years, we lost about 4 birds. On that needed a safe place to hang out was a Western Tanager. It took about a month before he could fly again.