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He Survived 5-Story Drop: Keeping Birds Alive After Window Crashes

He Survived 5-Story Drop: Keeping Birds Alive After Window Crashes

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 byPaula Lopesof 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 enjoyingthe 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. SoI 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.

Related Stories:

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Orphaned Blue Jay in Road: I’ll Try to Save Him”

Hit & Run on Flock of Starlings: Rescuer Stops to Help Survivor

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Photo credit: Socrates |

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8:01PM PST on Nov 9, 2014

People really need to stop making buildings with mirrored windows and glass; they injure innocent birds, and aren't even aesthetically pleasing, quite the contrary, really.

11:19AM PDT on Nov 1, 2014

Thanks for sharing Paula

4:28AM PST on Dec 4, 2013

Thanks, I'll remember the info just in case!

1:19PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

good job !

4:25AM PDT on May 29, 2013

What a nice story!

12:15PM PDT on May 7, 2013

Fantastic story and an even better ending.

10:44AM PDT on May 7, 2013

Very good advice, Paula.

And bless you for caring.

1:58AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

Paula, bless you for having such a kind heart!

I've picked up a number of stunned birds over the years and left them in a quiet dark place to recover, then released them. It is interesting to know about the blood flow - I didn't realise that.

Usually I find pheasants hit by cars - phezzies have no road sense at all! However once I heard a bank on my window and went outside to find a beautiful song thrush being stared at by a cat. Fortunately I was in time, and subsequently released the thrush in my garden.

1:50AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

Suzy - you held a hummingbird! What an experience!

They are only found in the New World, which means I've only seen them in the wild once.... sigh....

10:38PM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Bless you Paula for your life saving actions in helping this little bird. Quite probably he would not have made it if not for your help. A car may have hit him before he had a chance to recover. We need more people like you in the world. I know first hand what a rewarding experience it is to save the life of a little bird.

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How about showing that to schools all across the country?

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