The birds are going batty! What’s
going on? Why is that Mockingbird attacking your car mirror? Why is there a
Bananaquit pecking at your bedroom window?
The answer is that it is springtime
in the Cayman Islands and nesting season is upon us. During the next few
months, birds in the Cayman Islands will be staking out territories, mating,
nesting and rearing their young. Addressing the interface where wildlife meets
human activities is part of the work of the National Trust’s Wildlife Rescue
Answers can be found with some
research, perseverance and patience. The trick is to outsmart the birds – not
fight them. They are impelled by strong instincts.
Windows and mirrors were not in
these birds’ genetic blueprints.
None of these methods is perfect –
all need to be applied to the criteria of a particular site and structure, and
adapted to circumstance.
Our goal is to find ways to live
with nature on our doorsteps – to find harmonious, non-lethal solutions and to
continue to enjoy Cayman’s beautiful wild birds while we share an ever-changing
habitat with them.
Birds attacking your car mirror are
males that believe their reflection is a rival. They will not (indeed cannot)
give up until they have driven this intruder away from their territory.
No training is possible and they
will never learn or give up. If you are having this problem, simply keep a
cloth bag or an old large sock in your car and cover your mirror when you are
parked in the area where the bird is nesting.
The problem will be gone when the
nesting season is over. The exact length of time this will take differs,
depending upon the species of bird.
Birds attacking a window in your house?
Shine a light on it from the inside
to minimize refection, or cover it from the outside with a non-reflective
surface. As long as they can see their reflection, they won’t rest until the
“rival” is driven away.
Birds crashing into plate glass?
When two large windows or glass
doors are lined up so that birds can see the sky through them, they will often
try to “cut through” what they perceive to be a clear tunnel.
If birds regularly “conch out” on your glass
doors or windows, check the view and place a hanging mobile, a curtain or other
visible obstacle to block the line of sight.
The National Trust Wildlife Rescue
programme sells hawk-shaped dark stickers to paste on windows. The theory
behind this is that the silhouette says “predator” to the bird, so it will stay
It also breaks up the view,
indicating the presence of a solid object. The stickers cost only $2.
But, any attractive decals or window
decorations will help. Often, a bird that has hit a glass window is only
Put it in a safe place and watch
for about 15 minutes. It may recover and fly away with no further assistance or
veterinary care. If you think it is injured, call 917-BIRD.
Ching-Chings building a nest near your doorway?
Try to discourage them by removing
the nesting material before they get started.
If you wait until chicks are in the
nest, the parent birds will begin dive-bombing passers-by trying to protect
At this point, the only solution is a big
straw hat or an umbrella – and a few weeks of waiting while the chicks grow up
Do NOT bring baby ching-chings to
Wildlife Rescue – our volunteers are overwhelmed with orphan birds and many
must be euthanized when there is no one to care for them. Parent birds are the
They are the only ones with the
time to feed chicks every 15 minutes during daylight hours!
Call 917-BIRD – We have devices and
sprays to discourage and repel woodpeckers or can advise you about home-made
Owls roosting in your building?
Contact the Department of Environment
Terrestrial Division – 949-8469 for assistance.
If you need help or find an injured
bird, please phone 917-BIRD for assistance.
Ducks in the Roadways:
Feeding ducks by the roadside attracts them to
traffic and even teaches them to run toward cars.
This is especially dangerous when
the young ducklings are following their parents and learning.
Let your well-meaning friends and
family know this.
There are many important ways to
help wildlife and the National Trust Wildlife Rescue Program is happy to
provide information about providing back-yard garden resources to help
wildlife, including wetland birds.
This weekly column from the
National Trust for the Cayman Islands is submitted by Lois Blumenthal, Director
of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands Bat Conservation Programme and Caribbean
Coordinator for Bat Conservation International.
Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a
programme of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. This project is staffed
entirely by volunteers and is financed 100 per cent by donations from the
public. If you would like to help by donating funds or volunteering time,
please send a check to the address below or contact us at [email protected]
or [email protected]
P O Box 31116
Grand Cayman KY1-1205
Cell: 917-BIRD – Wildlife emergency
hotline donated by LIME
Look for us on Facebook. -”National
Trust for the Cayman Islands”, “Friends of Bats – Cayman Islands and the
Tropics”, “Cayman Wildlife Rescue”, and “Cayman Wildlife Connection”