Death of a New Customer
We heard the sharp THUNK as we sat out in our four-season porch. It sounded like a lump of earth had been thrown against a window — not a CRACK like a rock, softer somehow.
We looked toward the window from which the sound had come. There were feathers floating just outside of it. Small. Thumbnail sizes. There wasn’t much of a breeze, so they were just drifting downward. Almost like there had been a small explosion of feathers, almost like someone had tried to recreate a cartoon of a bird exploding.
But the cartoon would have had little stars circling around the bird’s head as it sat befuddled. Instead we saw:
Maybe it was stunned.
Maybe it would twitch.
Maybe it would flap a little, then roll over and stagger off, recovering before it would fly off.
Or it would lie there. Unmoving. Unblinking. Dead.
We have bird feeders near our porch. We can watch the birds when they feed. We have dozens, sometimes over a hundred birds come to feed in a day. They like our seed mixtures and suet. Different breeds have different eating methods. We recognize many of our “regular customers” because of behavior or body patterns.
Our regular customers know not to fly full speed into our windows.
Our regular customers don’t lie dead in the snow.
In two years we’ve had only two birds die because they didn’t understand how glass works. Or maybe they got startled and were more worried about what was behind, rather than what was ahead. Maybe they got momentarily confused.
A moment is all it takes.
An hour later the bird was still there. Still dead.
It never gets easier.