In today’s story brought to you by The Great Animal Rescue Chase, we’ll share a little something about the survival mechanisms that come into play when birds strike windows. We’re hopeful that by sharing this information, perhaps another life may be saved.
Written by Paula Lopes of Aveiro, Portugal
A while ago, I was exercising at the local gym, as I did regularly. A lot of birds live in the surrounding building and I used to enjoy looking out the window as I exercised and enjoying the beautiful dances the birds performed while flying close to the mirrored-glasses.
One day, after watching the birds for a while, I started to do some crunches, when I heard a loud THUD on the window. I was startled and a thought immediately crossed my mind: a bird, confused with the mirrored window. If it had happened, it was certain the poor animal had died, the impact was too strong, it must have broken its neck.
But I couldn’t shake the thought: what if it didn’t? I ran towards the window. We were on the 5th floor — quite a fall for such a little creature. And sure enough, I saw him, lying on the road, between two parked cars. He wouldn’t have survived the fall.
But what if it had? I ran out on my exercise, afraid a car would park where the bird was lying. I approached him, his head was on the ground, his little back in the air. I picked him up, very carefully, certain that there was nothing to be done.
He Turned His Head and Looked at Me
But then he looked at me. He turned his little head and looked at me. I was in shock that he could have survived such an impact (both the window and the fall) and brought him home with me. He was very still and could barely stay up. I placed him in a little towel, trying to give him some comfort and some balance. I offered him water, but he didn’t want any. I called the vet to ask what I could do for the birdie. She told me that if he didn’t have any internal injuries, I should place him in a dark box with holes, and leave him there for a couple of hours. I did just that and researched more about cases like this online, while the bird rested.
That day I learned that, when the birds don’t break their necks at impact and don’t get internal injuries, what happens is that the blood rushes to their heads and they are unable to move or react for a good while and many times, people think they are dead. But if you place them in a dark place (with holes, always) they stay in a sleep-like mode, allowing the blood to slowly go back to the rest of the body. It’s usually better not to offer water or food.
The happy ending: I live in an apartment building, and when it came time to set him free, I didn’t want to do it from my floor, because if he was not able to fly properly he would fall to his death. So I took him to an open field, with a lot of nice trees and opened the box. And he flew happily into a tree. It was a brief encounter, but I am forever grateful for having been able to help that little bird.
For more great rescue stories from everyday heroes, please visit The Great Animal Rescue Chase.