Squirrel Eats Bird: A Harrowing Tale
But don’t lose heart—before you paint your windows black, there are a few steps you can take to lesson the bird blows. The American Bird Conservancy just produced a flyer offering bird-safety tips. Also, check out some of the innovations mentioned in “Pain in the Glass,” from our November-December 2008 issue.
Klem recommends a number of tips as well in a recent paper presented at the Fourth Annual Partners in Flight conference, including the following:
1) Cover windows with netting.
2) Move bird feeders, watering areas, perches, and other attractants to within one meter or less of the glass surface.
3) Place decals on or hang strings of objects in front of windows such that they uniformly cover the surface and are separated by 10 cm (4 in) or less in vertical columns or 5 cm (2 in) or less in horizontal rows. (*Author’s note: In other words, one lonely decal isn’t enough of a warning sign. The idea is to produce a visual disturbance that signifies to birds, “Stop!”)
4) Use one-way films that consist of patterns and color shades acceptable to homeowner and commercial building manager; these films provide a minimally obstructed view from inside while rendering a window opaque or translucent when viewed from the outside.
5) Reduce the proportion of glass to other building materials in new construction.
6) Use ceramic frit glass with 0.32-cm diameter translucent appearing dots separated 0.32 cm apart in new or remodeling existing structures.
7) Angle windows 20 to 40 degrees from vertical in new or remodeled construction.
Some of these may not be the most aesthetically appealing solutions in the world, and okay, maybe there is some “nature in the raw” cache from seeing a squirrel feast on a bird. But I’m betting most of us agree: A bird in the air is worth two in a squirrel’s stomach.