Death of a Dove

It had been quite a while since I last used the window cleaning tools to reach those on the second floor. Maybe I would get around to it soon. But, no hurry.

There was a loud thud on the window. Birds will often do that as they come and go at our feeders. Sure enough, there was a faint outline of a bird in flight on the glass. A Dove was dead on the patio below. A few small feathers stuck to the glass where it made impact. I could barely make out some other features on the glass.


That night, with the room lights off, I put the camera on a tripod pointing at the impact spot from the inside to the darkness outside. I set the camera for a 6 second time exposure. There is another window to the right of this one. I reached out and painted the crash site from the right side with a small flashlight during the 6 seconds.

What a surprise. A leg extended down. Curved wings showed up clearly. The neck was twisted badly and probably broke upon impact. Some minor editing cleaned up the dirty window surrounding the outline. But, there it was, almost like a photograph of the crash.

I’m glad I wasn’t in a hurry to wash that window.


30 thoughts on “Death of a Dove

  1. I’ve seen these dusty imprints several times over the years but only a few fatalities, at least immediate, have occurred. It’s possible that most see their reflection and let up enough to survive the impact. I think your method for creating this sort of death mask was quite inventive. I would have just gone for the paper towels and glass cleaner.
    We used to keep some black raptor appliques on the windows to avoid the crashes but that also kept the birds away from the feeders. After a while they ignored the silhouettes and flew into the windows anyway.


    • A few years ago about 20 turkeys wandered by our house in the back yard. I started hearing a tapping sound. Two of them saw their reflection in the glass of the back door and starting pecking it. That was funny to watch.

      Liked by 1 person

    • There are a lot of useful and attractive ideas in that article. Thank you for putting the link here. A friend of mine has a plastic statue of an owl sitting in her window near a place where birds tend to fly by at high speed.


      • I should send you a phone image of what an office building did here to prevent pigeons from nesting there. They had to hang huge fake dummy birds made out of recycled materials so they are all hanging and swaying around the building. It looks so funny I’m going to have to send you an image of that. Whether it’s working or not, I think it’s helping, but in areas where the dummies don’t hang, the pigeons still nest.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. These are two videos I took today. This is simply hilarious. They are made out of big Pepsi bottles with tissue paper and other materials, probably made to look like hawks. What is amazing is that they went through all this trouble. Now there are companies that cover the buildings with a kind of wire that prevents any pigeon from nesting. Maybe they will do this eventually.


    • I had to click the YouTube link in the lower right, then enlarge it to full screen. Even then, I wasn’t sure of what I was seeing connected to the bottles. But, if it worked, that’s good.


  3. What an inspired effort to re-enact the drama–really a fine piece of work, Jim. We’ve had birds hit our windows from time to time in Omaha too, and the solution we’ve found is to suspend a few old CDs or DVDs on string or fishing line a couple of inches inside the pane. The air movement in the house keeps them gently in motion and the rainbow reflections they produce are quite effective in preventing injuries (and unintentional suicides).


    • Thank you very much. The more I investigated, the more intriguing it all became. We added some colored glass artwork in the transom windows above the mains. There are now some sheers hanging in the mains. We have not had a repeat of the severe crashes. That’s good.

      Thanks for stopping by.


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