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Birds Hitting Windows – White Throated Sparrow Rescue

Birds Hitting Windows – White Throated Sparrow Rescue

If you’ve seen our other posts and videos on the birds we’ve rescued, you’ll know that we live in the woods, which is awesome, except for a few challenges. One is birds hitting windows and becoming injured or worse, dying.

So… we’ve rescued many a bird over the 30 years in this woodland haven, and have tried a number of bird deflectors to try to mitigate the problem. The bird deflectors we’re using definitely help.

Another challenge of living in the woods is gardening. Our garden is smaller because there are fewer sunny areas plus lots of tree roots. To help with the tree roots leaching nutrients, we’ve done well with hugelkultur, straw bale gardening and other raised garden beds.

There’s not much we can do about the sunlight, other than cut down a neighbor’s tree 😜, or more of our own. The former isn’t an option and we really don’t want to cut down more of ours either. So, we’ve found workarounds, through the raised garden beds, as indicated, plus vertical gardening as well as growing shade loving vegetables and plants.

Why Are Birds Hitting Windows?

Some birds hit the windows on purpose, thinking their reflection is a competitor bird to warn away from their territory or bird seed. Those rarely result in injuries. But that’s not the reason for most of the birds hitting windows. The majority of our bird strikes are because they see trees and sky reflected in the windows and perceive it as part of the woods that they try to fly through.

Sometimes it’s a glancing blow… where they fly away, uninjured. Sometimes it’s fatal. They’re often just stunned and fly away after a brief recovery period. We’ve rescued (and lost 😔) cardinals, wood thrush, wrens, kinglets and titmouse. Our last injured cardinal suffered a broken collar bone and and spent the next six weeks at the vet recovering.

If you haven’t seen those articles and videos yet, we’ll share those article links at the bottom of this should you be interested. One of the links will include some solutions toward preventing birds hitting windows. But… we still get a few hits.

We've had many bird strikes to windows over the years. Thankfully, most survive, like this Golden Crowned Kinglet bird rescued by our son Nikolai Alderson. #BirdsHittingWindows #BirdStrikes #RescuedBird #GardensAll #GoldenCrownedKingletBird
Golden crowned kinglet bird rescued by Nikolai Alderson after hitting window. Image by

Rescuing “Jack Sparrow”

This morning’s window strike was a beautiful sparrow… already dubbed Jack Sparrow. A natural decision after our kids’ love of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and their creative imaginations.

“Jack Sparrow”, is a white-throated sparrow. Or… as Devani, my daughter, who was holding the bird in the video said after looking it up:

“Zonotrichia albicollis, the fancy way of saying “White Throated Sparrow”… like when you’re at a party sipping on Merlot.”

“This weekend I rescued a Zonotrichia Albicollis. Do you even Science?” Sip Merlot;
raise eyebrow.

(Yes… Devani is an aspiring fiction writer so her quirky humor often shows up in imagined and entertaining dialogues).

Crashing Cardinal

The last bird crash before this one was a cardinal that broke his collarbone. We’re fortunate to have a vet nearby who rescues injured wildlife for free, the Animal Hospital of Walnut Cove in NC. They’re so generous in doing that!

We named him Cardinal Ciscom and they said it would take about four weeks of recovery at the vet. We were hoping to pick him up to release back into our yard so he could rejoin his family, since cardinals often mate for life. However, turns out there was a missed communication on that and they released him instead. Either way, we’re grateful to their kindness in helping these critters. Imagine… fixing the collarbone of a cardinal!

Many vets will help injured wildlife for free, so check with yours to see in advance for when you need one.

Try to release rescued cardinals where they were found them. They stay with their mate for the season and depend on each other for raising their young.

CARDINALS ARE FAMILY ORIENTED. Cardinals often mate for life and stay with their family flock.
Cardinals often mate for life and stay with their family flock.

Cardinals are Beneficial Birds to Attract to Your Yard

Besides being lovely to look at, cardinals are beneficial birds to have around your yard and garden. Cardinals eat beetles, grasshoppers, leafhoppers, stink bugs, and snails and at least 51 different kinds of insects, including mosquitoes!

So to attract these lovely songbirds to your yard you might start with a cardinal bird feeder, especially in winter, and a cardinal birdhouse near your garden.

Here are a couple other articles on our bird rescues and bird deflector remedies for birds crashing into windows.

More Bird Stories & Information

If you have bird rescue stories and photos you’d like to share, please send them and we’ll be glad to publish it!

Meanwhile… here’s “Jack Sparrow” in recovery… soon to fly off to join his flock and recount an amazing tale of giants who give good back neck and back rubs and make funny cooing sounds. 😇

BIRD SURVIVED WINDOW STRIKE!  Rescued White Throated Sparrow - Bird Hitting Window. #BirdsHittingWindows #BirdStrikes #BirdCrashingIntoWindow #GardensAll
This little white throated sparrow recovered from hitting the window and flew away. Yay! Image,

What to Do When a Bird Hits a Window…?

This is not any official animal expert protocol. Rather, this is what we’ve done for multiple times each year for the past 30 years and it always seems to work well.

We’ve rescued MANY birds over the years. We’ve found that most are stunned and need some recovery time. We don’t want to leave them on the ground vulnerable to predators, including our cat and dogs. So we pick them up and cradle them in warm hands.

Healing Hands and Some TLC

Do you know how when you hurt yourself the first impulse it to place a hand over the bruise or injury? Well we’ve found that the birds seem to really enjoy being cradled in our palms. They’ve all also shown enjoyment, such as closing or half closing their eyes when gently stroking their head, neck or back. Like most creatures, they respond to the soothing touch and warmth.

As they regain their senses and strength, they start to look around more alert and inquisitive and their wings start to flutter. At that point we open our palms and give them a finger perch low to the ground (lest they fall) so they’re free to fly away.

On occasion, if they’re reluctant to leave, but seem ready, we’ll place them on a low and protected limb of a tree or shrub. We try to watch them until they fly away to be sure that they can and that there are no animals to find them before they do.

Careful, Birds May Bite!

You need to be more careful with the larger birds. Cardinal Cisco, mentioned earlier was the feistiest cardinal we’ve ever rescued, clamping down hard on my finger with his beak when picking him up.

His strong beak definitely hurt but fortunately, it did not break the skin. He also didn’t continue to try to bite, even though he was held. I think he didn’t have the energy to sustain that biting strategy so it was just a part of his initial defense mechanism.

But best if you have soft gloves with enough dexterity to pick up the bird and enough softness to provide it comfort, while also protecting your hands. So far we’ve not had any birds bigger than a cardinal hit our windows and need rescuing.

What to Put the Birds In?

Depending on the severity of the injury and whether you need to transport them, it may not be practical to only hold them in your hands.

Because Cisco was feisty, and had to go on a car ride to the vet, we had a small hard shelled pet carrier that worked perfectly. It had window cutouts plus the open grid metal door that he could see out of and even perch on. We lined the carrier with a soft towel and also placed a small container of water in a corner, just in case the stress made him thirsty.

If you want to see those photos, they’re in this cardinal rescue article on one of our kindred websites.

Thanks for dropping by. Let us know if you have any questions or comments.

Gorgeous Goldfinches and One Goldfinch Rescue

Speaking of goldfinches, living in the woods as we do, we have a number of birds each year that crash into our glass windows. We’ve taken measures to try and thwart the birds hitting windows with bird deflectors, which has helped, but a few still happen each year.

Fortunately, most are just stunned, and with a little TLC (and protection from other opportunistic predators like our cat and dogs), most are nurtured, like this red cardinal, and loved back to health until they’re able to fly away.

The other day, it was a lovely goldfinch, dubbed Fernando. He stayed with us for awhile, thoroughly enjoying and soaking up the soft strokes and neck-scratching. As well.

Fernando finally flew away when he was startled by the flick of LeAura’s braid as she was shaking a mosquito away from her ears. She and the “kids” were outside with the bird getting eaten alive by mosquitos, but when it comes to saving a bird, none of that matters!

If you love birds, you’ll enjoy this really cool tool that allows you to click through to see the bird’s colors for each month of the year.

American Male Goldfinch in Autumn Colors

American male goldfinch, gold bird

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