Our yard is a bird sanctuary. The reason I know this is because we have hundreds of birds visiting our property all the time, even if you discount the swallows. I don’t know how we were lucky enough to create a bird sanctuary, but maybe it has nothing to do with us at all. Maybe where we live and the surrounding environment (slightly rural, in a valley, lots of wild vegetation, nearby water sources, and lots of wind) have made this possible. We’ve planted about 100 trees since the fire (see Any Way the Wind Blows), but with 8 acres, those trees are scattered about making our property seem somewhat “treeless”. Whatever the reason we have become a bird sanctuary, I’m good with that.
I love the birds: the sounds they make, the sheer number and variety of birds, their colors, with sizes ranging from little hummingbirds all the way up to hawks and owls. And though many make a huge mess (the swallows), I don’t really mind.
But, I am troubled by the occasional loud thud on one of our windows that occurs when one of them doesn’t “see” the window, but “sees” a portal to another part of the world. These thuds, so loud I come running from wherever I am, usually indicate that a bird is stunned and maybe injured. Over the 4 and a half years that we have lived in this home, we’ve had to discard only a handful of birds who have actually died from their injuries. Most sit or lay stunned on the ground, blinking their eyes, tilting their heads, shaking their feathers and within a few minutes time, regain their composure and fly away. Whether there are lasting repercussions from their encounters with our windows, I don’t know. But I do know that I don’t find bird carcasses lying around our property.
I came home the other day and found this image on our great room window. But, no bird anywhere to be found. In all the years birds have smacked our windows, I have never seen an image left behind. This image has made my heart heavy. The force with which this bird hit our window surely meant that it did not survive. But, there was no body.
I wonder what kind of bird it was. From wing tip to wing tip, the image measures 17 inches. Each wing is 7 inches and the body measures 6 inches by 3 inches. I don’t think it is one of the swallows. It seems too big for a swallow and definitely too small for a crow. Whatever it was, I am deeply saddened that my window was in the way. The unusual thing about this particular incident is that this window is under an overhang, a small covered porch leading into our back yard. So, why did the bird mistake this area for a clear path to its destination?
I haven’t washed the image from our window. I don’t know why – maybe I think this image will be a deterrent for other birds and keep them safe?
So, here’s my prayer to the birds who bless us with their visits – A Wing and a Prayer:
May the birds always have reason to sing
May the birds have wind under their wing
May the birds always safely light
From their wondrous, joyful flight
Dear Lord, hear my prayer
As it travels with the birds through midair.
Until Next Time,
(other posts about birds)
- Bird Bath
- Exaltation of Larks
- Live Life
- Make a Place Beautiful
- Operation Swallow Adios
- Running A-Fowl with Coots
- Sweet Baby James
- The Best Nests in the West
- The Birds and the Bees
- The Swallows Return to Capistrano South
- Use What Talents You Possess