Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dear Bird Correspondent

On today's episode of Dear Bird Correspondent, the DBC respectfully disagrees with Pia Ehrhardt's fanciful ideas about why birds run into glass. "That sounds like a pretty lethal way to go about getting ****!" writes our bird correspondent. "Male birds will sometimes hit a window because they think the reflection is another male in their territory, but in that case the bird is usually leaping from a few inches off and not hitting very hard. I've seen a rufous-sided towhee try to beat itself up at a patio sliding glass door for about half an hour. Avian amor, on the other hand, requires a whole getting-to-know-you process that can't be accomplished with one's reflection the way trouncing an aggressive-looking invader can. Birds that strike a window at full speed do it because they don't see the glass." Notice how the bird correspondent manages to offhandedly toss out the fact that she has seen a "rufous-sided towhee." What does she take us for? By the way, our non-bird correspondent Dr. "M." has ventured off her usual beat to also write us on the subject of birds crashing into windows. "I once heard Charles Seabrook of the AJC give a talk about the high rate of bird deaths in downtown Atlanta," she reports. "He was working on some sort of campaign to get the office buildings downtown to turn off their lights at night." We hope it did the trick! (Okay, we guess that rufous-sided towhees exist after all, because here's a picture of one.)