Migration has begun for many bird species, and some of them are running into trouble with human-created danger as they make the journey from their breeding territories to their overwintering habitat. On September 6, we received a female Western Tanager who suffered head trauma and other injuries when she struck a window.
Windows are a year-round danger to birds as they often reflect nearby vegetation and trick birds into believing they have a free flight path to a perch. They fly headfirst into the window pane never even knowing it was there. If you break up the window’s reflective surface by attaching decals, or obscure it from view by hanging wind socks, wind chimes or mylar strips, you will make bird/window collisions far less likely to occur.
House cats are another year-round danger to birds, and cat attacks account for about 15 percent of the avian patients the PAWS Wildlife Center receives. Cat attack victims suffer puncture wounds, lacerations, broken bones and other serious injuries. If a bird is not critically injured by the cat, he or she is still at high risk for infection from bacteria in the cat’s saliva. If left untreated, even a superficial puncture wound from a cat’s tooth may result in the death of the bird.
Free-roaming cats are also subject to dangers of their own, and many are injured or killed by cars, wild predators, ill-meaning people or toxic chemicals. Keeping your cat safely contained is the best way to ensure the safety of wildlife as well as that of your beloved pet. Building an outdoor cat enclosure is a way you can allow your cat to continue to enjoy being outside without putting his or her life, or the lives of local wild animals at risk.
Windows and free-roaming cats, are probably the two biggest threats to migratory and local birds that we can easily address on our own properties. The remedies are not complicated or expensive, and help is just a phone call away if you require more information (PAWS Wildlife Center- 425.412.4040). You can make a difference today!