by Lee Farnham
Seed was put out early on Saturday a.m., but Juncos and Goldfinches were already on the deck and deck rail clamoring for breakfast (there’s plenty of old seed there but they like fresh), so more was added and I went inside to start watching, along with Reina, our cat, who watches with me. Suddenly, ALL birds left the deck in a hurry, ditto the feeders at the bottom of the yard, which usually means a hawk is coming (or perhaps a Red Fox)….and then we heard a clunk as one of the departing birds hit a window in the rush.
Since the deck feeders are within ten feet of the house we’ve taken some precautions against birds hitting windows….it’s mostly that we’ve bought decals for the windows which refract light differently, so the bird knows there’s something there ahead of time. This poor Goldfinch was woozy when I found him standing on the deck, but he listed to port instead of being upright. Usually, if the bird has knocked itself out, we pick him up, put him in a small box lined with tissue paper, and close the lid (and take him inside). That way he’ll be in a dark place, away from the outside, and he’ll recover after a while. If he doesn’t, but is still alive, read on.
I thought of doing that with this Goldfinch, but decided not to because he was almost upright. Instead I left him alone for ten minutes with the hope that he’d recover and be on his way. However, one of the overfed squirrels needed a drink, and his abrupt visit to the deck spooked the Goldfinch, who tried to fly off but hit another window in the process! Now he was down on his side, though still conscious, so I gave him another ten minutes….and during that time there was another scare and he flew straight off the deck and into the Dogwood tree nearby! It looked as if he had recovered well, and that all he needed was some quiet time.
So we didn’t have to make a trip to the Mercer County Wildlife Center on the east side of Route 29 in Titusville, south of Lambertville, but they’re there if you need them, and they will take birds that knock themselves out on windows near feeders. It’s supported, in large part, by donations, so we’re happy to contribute annually to their continuing welfare, because we’ve taken birds and squirrels to them over the years. They are very conscientious about following up with every patient they get; you’ll get a note when one of their “guests” have been released back into the wild. While they are run by Mercer County, Wildlife Center Friends partners with them, and is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.
Check out the Mercer County Wildlife Center. They’re at 1748 River. Rd., Titusville, NJ 08560. Phone: 609-303-0552. Hours are 9 am – 4pm seven days a week. They take all types of injured, ill and displaced native wildlife, provide them with medical treatment and a temporary refuge before releasing them back into an appropriate wildlife habitat.