Unless you've been under a rock for the past several years, you probably know this game lets you destroy wood, concrete, and glass structures by launching birds at them with a slingshot. In reality, a bird cannot even penetrate a picture window.
We have a wood burning stove in our family room/home theater/blogging lair. It works really well; last winter we had fires in it every day, and it makes the room quite comfortable on even the coldest days. Lately, we've not had need for many fires because Spring has sprung here. Along with warmer temps, Spring brings a new crop of songbirds... young, inexperienced songbirds that don't know to stay away from wood stove chimneys, and are small enough to fit through the opening at the top of ours.
Here's a little fellow that ended up in the stove last week (it was cool in there at the time):
|Based on its size, coloration, and bill shape, I believe|
this is a young house finch, a fairly common species.
I shall call him "Sooty."
Caleb and I heard him slide down the vent, then looked through the glass and saw him flapping around in there, understandably panicked. Seeing no benefit to keeping a wild bird in the house, I opened the front door, then opened the stove, thinking he would fly to freedom.
I was wrong. He went straight for the largest apparent portal to the great outdoors, our big picture window. By "went for it," I mean he flew toward it as fast as a young house finch can fly. When he's hopped up on adrenaline and has 40 feet of space to get a run at it, this is about Mach 3.
Upon hitting a windowpane headfirst at Mach 3, a house finch suffers severe brain damage and is killed instantly. Seriously. Dead as a door nail. This made us kind of sad, so we took another picture, with Caleb holding the little guy's still-warm body, and then we buried him in the garden. (The bird, not Caleb!)
|He's only smiling because I let him hold the bird. Inwardly, he felt bad.|
I made him wash his hands right after this... don't judge me!
I swear we did not plan the above picture to make some kind of clever, ironic statement. It happened by pure coincidence that Caleb was wearing his Angry Birds watch that morning, which I didn't even notice until after I took the pic.
This bird's early demise could have been prevented, perhaps, if I'd hung a blanket or something in front of the window. I'll try to remember that next time. Although this is the first time (to my knowledge, at least) a bird killed itself trying to escape from our house, it's not the first time one was killed by that window.
Last year, a pretty yellow bird crashed into the same window from the outside. We heard a thump. I went out and found Tweety lying on the ground, dead as a dodo:
|I think this was a goldfinch, but it might have been some kind of|
flycatcher or warbler. Whatever it was, it didn't understand windows.
I can see why the one hit it from the inside; he was just trying to get to freedom. So what was this yellow one's excuse? It's not like the glass is invisible from our yard. Check out the glare:
Maybe birds just don't understand reflections? Perhaps Tweety saw this and thought there was an endless expanse of houses, cars, trees, and sky inside our living room. If so, maybe it's good that she removed herself from the gene pool. "I'll fly right through this open window frame and into the huge world within this house. That will be a perfect place to hatch and raise my brood!" Darwin would say such a bird deserves to be snuffed out, and its species is the better for it.
There's another possibility: maybe the reflection was not visible from her vantage point, or her eyes were not attuned to perceive it. In that case, she must have thought she was about to fly right inside an actual people house... like some kind of fearless Jackie Chan stunt bird. I wonder if she'd planned on making a few loops through the dining room, dive bombing the fruit salad on the kitchen countertop, and leaving the same way she entered, or if she wanted to fly in the front window, straight through the house, and out the back, like an avian barnstormer.
Too bad she didn't make it. She could have become the Evel Knievel of the bird world. Come to think of it, didn't Evel break every bone in his body at Ceasar's Palace in the mid-seventies? It seems Tweety is the Evel Knievel of the bird world. If she'd not been so fragile, perhaps she could have knocked the whole house down, thereby killing all us pigs inside.