Steve explains reasons for keeping the windows smudged
Jan Long called and said she has a bluebird that's been flying into her window on several occasions. She asked if I had ever heard any explanations for this odd behavior.
Many birds are territorial and during the breeding season they will chase and attack other birds of their species. When they see their own reflection in the window, they take it as an intruder and go after it. Another explanation might be that they see reflections of trees, sky, and the surrounding landscape in the window, so they are just flying to a tree that's not really there.
To eliminate this problem you can pull shades or curtains, but that won't allow you to see outside. You can put screens on the windows so they are less reflective, but a large picture window might not be designed for screens.
You can decorate your window with crepe paper or ribbon streamers so it looks like you are preparing for a graduation party or you can buy adhesive-backed cutout silhouettes of hawks or other birds of prey and attach them to the outside of the reflective glass.
If you have bird feeders close to the window, move them to a more distant location for now.
Those are all possible solutions to the problem. There is one more. It's a logical solution. In fact, I think a man came up with it and I may make use of it, whether we have birds flying into our windows or not.
Follow this reasoning. If the window is so clean that it's invisible to birds or if it's so clean that they see their own reflection in it, causing them to attack it and risk bodily harm, the obvious solution is, "Leave the window dirty."
Around our house, when the pine pollen is done settling on everything in sight, I know Deb will announce that it's time to wash our windows.
Can you guess what my argument is going to be? Can you guess how my argument will be received? Can you guess what I'll be doing right after the pine pollen is done settling on everything in sight? Let me give you a hint. If you call, be patient. It might take me a minute to climb down from my ladder and set the squeegee down so I can answer the phone.
Thanks for the question, Jan.
Speaking of birds, the hatch is upon us. Goslings and ducklings are dotting the landscape. My wood ducks hatched on May 20 and, as usual, I was sitting in my blind to photograph the ducklings leaping from their nesting box.
What are you seeing? Have any of you had the pleasure of watching or photographing the wood ducks leaping this spring?
A special day has been scheduled for Itasca on June 12. It's called, PSI (Park Scene Investigation.) The event will include nature photo tips and photo opportunities, compass and GPS basics, underwater photo techniques, digiscoping, and much more. Call the park for details.
Editor's Note: Steve is off to great adventures so he will stop his column for now. We hope he checks in periodically to let us know what he's up to. He has taken a job as Greater Minnesota coordinator for "The Digital Bridge to Nature" project. He hopes readers will continue to find ways of sharing nature with kids. We wish him the best and thank him for his contributions to this page.