A while ago, you may remember, I posted about the American Woodcock, and mentioned how I’ve been waiting almost fifteen years to see another. Saw the first one because I was looking for dead things.
Today I wasn’t looking for dead things. Guess what I found?
Yes, the good news is that the Woodcock are migrating. The bad news is that this one isn’t, not any more. From the scene, it looks like it hit one of the ostentatious plate glass windows of one of the ostentatious luxury condominiums that are springing up like mushrooms in Jersey City. For some reason, condo designers have decided that entire walls made of glass, regardless of environmental impact, are the fashionable thing of the now; the migration of birds is not of the now, but of the ages, and doesn’t alter quickly in response to clever monkeys and their penchant for decorating with fatal invisible force fields.
When I picked the Woodcock up, it was cool but not stiff. Blood had run from one nostril down the long, flexible bill, and the eyes were still glossy. Those big eyes always make Woodcock look surprised, but zie probably didn’t have time to be surprised. I’d never touched a Woodcock before. They are very soft.
Daniel Klem estimates that more than 1 billion birds are killed by window strikes every year. New York City (in which I am including “sixth borough” Jersey City for the nonce), sitting right where birds want to fly and well-stocked with buildings that are basically big glass boxes, undoubtedly contributes a good bit to that number. And, as this article notes, the impact is disproportionately felt by migratory birds – in a hurry, in unfamiliar territory, and lacking the street smarts of Rock Pigeons.
Sometimes the frivolous ways that humans find to destroy our fellow beings simply stun me. Why live in a glass house?