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:

Albatross Hitches A Ride In Los Angeles

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

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

Photo credit: Socrates | Dreamstime.com


Marcella T.
Marcella T2 years ago

Once had a pigeon slam into my 1st-floor window. Went outside to see what happened to it. It was standing, fully conscious, looking at me, and terrified. I went indoors to get water (not sure why we all think water is first aid for birds), and when I came back it was gone. It didn't hit the window very hard, and therefore didn't need much recovery time. I always assumed that it flew away. I really hope that it didn't stagger with its sprained wings somewhere that I couldn't see it.

Laiz Nunes
Laiz Nunes3 years ago

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.

Hamburger Moscovici

Thanks for sharing Paula

Jody B.
Jody B4 years ago

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

Waltraud U.
Waltraud U5 years ago

good job !

Karen O'Halloran
Karen O'Halloran5 years ago

What a nice story!

Sheri Schongold
Sheri Schongold5 years ago

Fantastic story and an even better ending.

John De Avalon
John De Avalon5 years ago

Very good advice, Paula.

And bless you for caring.

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H.5 years ago

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.

Rosemary H.
Rosemary H.5 years ago

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....