A couple of weeks ago I cleaned our windows for the first time in… well, I’m not going to admit how long. Having unique windows somewhat similar to Velux windows in the way that they are in the roof and point towards the sky means they are directly below the many trees with their leaves and the wildlife that poops from above.
The front of the house overlooking the deck and bird feeders is mostly glass and within a few weeks of cleaning the windows they are covered in thick cobwebs that span from the wood cladding, over the window frames and onto the glass.
Cleaning them was a bad idea. Within two weeks we have had two blackbirds, a song thrush and a robin kill themselves by flying into the windows. For the last week I’ve been working from home and placed myself at the dining table to work so I could look out at the garden and watch the birds on the feeders. Several times a day I would jolt from the sound of something thumping the windows. Blue tits, marsh tits, coal tits; all knocking into the window but thankfully fluttering off.
While walking around the back of the house I stopped to listen to the fuss of bird calls in a tree. The recognisable calls of a group of long tailed tits came from above me. I could see them flitting from side to side like they do then my attention was drawn to the ground where two tit sat. One flew of as I stepped forward but the other didn’t. The poor thing must have banged into the window and fallen to the ground. I quickly scooped the tiny bird into my hand in fear that the hens that were watching my every move, hoping I would drop scraps of food, would get to the little creature before me. A hen would it the small bird if given the chance.
The long tailed tit was gasping and clearly in distress. My concern was that the rest of it’s group would move on before it came around. Long tailed tits don’t hang around for long. I placed the delicate bird that felt not to dissimilar to one of those feather bird Christmas decorations, onto the top of a bird box conveniently located on the tree in which the rest of his chums were still chirping from. The sound of the busy chirps moved some distance ahead and then further away again. I retreated a safe distance and watched the stunned bird in anticipation. Thankfully within a couple of minutes he took flight, disappearing into the spindly branches of the surrounding silver birches.
Seeing the body of the dead robin that had’t been so lucky was upsetting. I held the body in my hands for sometime, admiring its feather that were so perfectly aligned wit hone another. Getting so close to a bird like this is only really possible when it’s dead, unless you are a bird ringer. It’s a horrible thought but also quite a privilege to be able to be in contact with a small garden bird.
Maybe I’ll leave the windows for another few (length of time removed to retain personal dignity) in honor of our much loved feathered friends. Bring back the webs!