The highlight of our day was saving a precious Black-capped Chickadee after it flew into our office window.
I know what you’re thinking, why don’t we put anti-bird strike stickers on all our windows. We use them, but when a bird is spooked by a predator, they take off in a flash and ignore the reflective material. Learn more about preventing window strikes here.
The chickadee was enjoying our gourmet birdseed when the Blue Jays began calling out a warning signal alerting the songbirds a predator was near. As we look up, we see a flash of white crash sideways into the window with a loud THWACK.
We immediately run to the window, see a feather outline and look below to see an adorable Black-capped Chickadee on our generator box below.
Another chickadee stops to check on its fallen friend and then flies off.
It can’t be saying goodbye in that short visit. So instead, we’re hoping the other bird is accessing its fallen friend’s injuries and knows it’s just stunned.
The Chickadee: One-half Ounce Backyard Warrior
Every bird’s life is precious, but seeing the chickadee motionless in such a helpless state was gut-wrenching. These birds do everything fast and are always on the go. More than any other songbird, chickadees relate to humans. It’s like they get us and are happy coexisting with their human neighbors.
We never sense fear in these one-half-ounce backyard warriors, just acceptance. It’s as if they know they’re faster than us. Ever mindful of their safety, chickadees quickly approach the feeder, grabbing one seed each trip and then quickly flying off to a safe place to open the seed.
And it’s a sprint for us down the stairs to the back door to find the chickadee on top of the generator box in what we can only describe as a bird “sploot.” The chickadee’s wings are outstretched as if it’s still in flight and sitting with bent legs and its tail behind it.
After hearing the thunderous THWACK on the window, we don’t have high hopes.
As we get closer to this precious little bird, we’re relieved to see it’s taking quick labored breaths, and although its eyes are closed, we see eye movement.
The chickadee looks like it’s in a deep sleep in a sploot position. A few more minutes pass, and we’re torn about putting the bird in a box to keep it safe while it recovers.
When we find injured birds, like window strike victims, we gently place them in a box to keep them safe while they shake it off. Often the bird needs a few minutes to recover, so we stay and watch the bird to ensure no predators attack before it recovers.
Most of the time, the bird flies off. But if it doesn’t recover within five or six minutes, we’re more proactive and bring the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator for care.
At this point, we decide the only outcome for our chickadee is recovery.
We stand guard a few feet away, hopeful this tiny songbird will wake up. And then, within minutes, its breathing normalizes, opening its beautiful dark brown eyes.
The chickadee looks around to access its surroundings, much like we do when we wake up. This continues for a few more minutes while the bird remains in the sploot position.
It must be wondering why these big wingless birds (humans) are getting closer than it usually allows violating the sanctity of its bird space. And then, it jumps up. Regaining its balance, and takes a short flight to the deck rail 10 feet overhead. It’s reclaiming its bird space from the humans still on the ground worrying about its recovery.
After getting reacquainted with the surroundings it “left” a few minutes earlier, the chickadee takes a short flight to the nearby trees. Then we hear it making its familiar chickadee-dee-dee call. Or maybe it was the chickadee’s friend welcoming it back home.
Either way, we’re delighted our backyard warrior returned home so it can buzz us the next time we replenish food in its feeder. It’s a bird’s world around here, and we’re lucky to be part of it.