The Dangers Facing A Fledgling

Date: 2012-07-16 15:21:22 | Category: Bird Protection | Author: Tommi Townsend
Being abandoned isn't the only danger facing a fledgling. Windows, glass doors - even greenhouses can prove fatal to a fledgling that is just starting to learn how to fly.

Windows are seen by birds as just open spaces that they can fly through. Logical really when you see it from a bird's perspective. Every year at this time we are inundated with calls from people who have birds that have flown into their windows and are injured - sometimes fatally.

If a bird flies into your window you will know about it as they make a very loud 'thud' noise! Please observe the bird and make sure that no predators attack it. After a few minutes, if it has not flown away, pick it up, keep it warm and contact a bird rescue.

It's so easy to avoid birds flying into your windows. All you need to do is to 'break up' the expanse of glass by having horizontal, or vertical, slatted blinds or by using motifs of some kind that you just stick onto the glass. Six foot long bamboo canes stuck into large plant pots and popped in front of larger windows works well as a deterrent. We usually grow sweat peas, runner beans and peas up the canes to add colour and interest. Having said that, sometimes we just allow wild flowers and weeds to germinate - the end result is the same...the birds just swoop up to avoid the canes missing the window completely. Result!

The Dangers Facing A Fledgling

Notice how the large window has been 'broken' by internal slatted blinds and chairs whilst on the outside we have bamboo canes to obscure the expanse of glass.

Greenhouses can also cause problems and so I have things dangling all around the place 'breaking up' the glass to deter the birds from attempting to fly through the structure.

The Dangers Facing A Fledgling

My greenhouse has all kinds of unusual things dangling around to 'break' the glass structure. This allows the birds to navigate their way safely around the greenhouse.

Sadly, we learnt the hard way not to place a mirror directly opposite a window as the birds see this as a corridor through which to fly. The birds hit the window with a loud thud and usually die on impact. It seems common sense once you know but it never enters your head to even think about such things. Needless to say none of our mirrors are directly opposite a window these days.

Netting can also be a hazard for garden birds, especially to inexperienced fledglings, as they frequently become entangled in it. Pea, bean and pond netting is commonly used by gardeners but birds can so easily injure themselves as they perch on the netting in order to eat insects. Try to avoid using netting of any kind and instead revert to the old fashioned methods such as using bamboo canes in your vegetable patch. And then we have the bird's ultimate predator...the cat!

The cat is responsible for thousands of bird deaths each year and fledglings make easy prey. You can minimise the risk of cats killing and injuring birds by taking a few simple steps.

  • Keep your cats indoors around feeding and bathing time when the birds are most active.
  • The danger time for birds is at dawn and dusk so ensure 'Tiddles' is inside the house at these time This will reduce substantially the risk of a cat bringing home 'bird pressies'.

    The two bell rule. A cat can control one bell on its collar but it can't control two! The birds are alerted to imminent danger as the bell rings allowing them enough time to fly away.

    Cat proof the feeding tables and bird baths in your garden.

    Within our own garden we have tried to make our bird feeding stations as cat unfriendly as possible.

    For bird tables we have used dustbin lids placed halfway up the post that holds the table. Cats just can't jump over the lid onto the bird table.

    The Dangers Facing A Fledgling

    We have used a dustbin lid, attached to a post, to make it impossible for any cat to attack a bird feeding on the table.
    As a further deterrent we have planted the very thorny sweet briar rose around the bird table. This has the added bonus of attracting insects...more food for the birds!

    With bird feeders we have planted thorny shrubs and bushes all around, such as hawthorn and wild roses, to deter the cats from the area.

    The Dangers Facing A Fledgling

    A variety of wild roses surround our wild bird feeders. This protects the birds from their main predator...the cat!

    Bird baths can give a cat an instant meal if we are not careful so we have designed a cat proof bird bath using a post, plastic planter and an upturned dustbin lid and some stones...

    A dustbin lid placed in a plastic planter makes a good bird bath as cats cannot jump around the planter onto the bird bath.
    The planter has been fixed to a long post with brackets.
    Place a few some stones in the dustbin lid to enable the birds to perch in the middle of the bath.

    Mission accomplished...a cat proof bird bath!

    Is it me or do we look to have buried a Dalek in our garden and left just the plunger sticking out?

    Just by instigating these simple, yet effective, changes you will be maximising the safety of wild birds, especially fledglings, in your garden. Don't forget to have your camera at the ready to capture the many special moments as you watch the wild birds enjoy your garden!

    For more information about what we do please visit our website and follow us on Facebook at West Yorkshire Animals In Need - Official. My personal Facebook page is also a useful source of information - Tommi Townsend. Don't forget to click 'Like' and become a friend!

    Bye for now.

    Tommi Townsend

    Co-Founder of West Yorkshire Animals In Need (WYAIN)