Can birds become depressed and suicidal?

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 3, 2006

I need some help from you ornithologists out there — either professional or recreational.

Two times in the last few weeks, I have arrived at work to find a dead bird in front of our building.

They are little birds, I think finches. Both had a blue/gray back with some white spots and yellow-and-white chests.

Email newsletter signup

From all indications, they had flown into our glass store front and died from the impact.

On both occasions, we found feathers and other items on the glass.

Somebody once told me that birds will see their own reflections in the glass, think it is another bird, and fly toward it. Of course, that results in their slamming into the glass. And if they hit hard enough, they either injure or kill themselves.

If this is true, what are they hoping to accomplish by this act?

Are they trying to scare the other bird away, or trying to meet up with it and make friends?

Or, if what I have been told is not true, then why are they flying into our windows?

Are they depressed and suicidal and wanting to end it all?

What in a bird’s life could cause them to become so down and out?

They can’t have much stress in their lives — as long as they stay away from cats, that is.

And if a cat does approach, they have the world’s best escape mechanism — the ability to fly.

Can anybody help me understand why these birds have done what they did and what we can do to avoid another incident?

It’s heartbreaking to see those little guys just lying there on the sidewalk, motionless.

I’d rather see them flitting about.

Who picks up the dead?

Speaking of dead animals, I have noticed a number of them along the sides of the roads of late.

Mostly they are raccoons and deer.

Now that the city has taken over the streets and roads from the state, is it their responsibility to pick up the carcasses?

If so, is there any rule as to how soon they have to do it, or which department is responsible?

What if somebody from public works sees a dead animal on the side of the road? Have they been directed to call the appropriate department, assuming it is not public works responsibility, to get somebody out there as soon as possible to remove the body?

In some cases, time isn’t that important, but what if the carcass is that of a raccoon or other animal that had rabies? If a domestic animal messes with the body, I am afraid the disease could be spread.

Can somebody with the city give us the number to call for dead-animal removal? We’ll pass it on to our readers.

Christmas comes early

Do you know yet what you are getting for Christmas? My wife and I do.

Just the other day, we purchased a new sewing machine for Martha.

She has really gotten into quilting in recent years and needed to upgrade her equipment.

Now, I know a little bit about a lot of things, but when it comes to sewing, I am totally ignorant.

I let her do most of the talking with the salesman. She understood the lingo.

Basically, my only question was about the warranty. Men are like that. They want to know what to do if it breaks.

Well, Martha was happy with her choice of machines and she is now reading the book to understand how everything works.

These things are nothing like the ones our mothers and grandmothers had. They’re pretty sophisticated.

And they are not cheap.

But, Martha understands that because of the sewing machine, there won’t be that many presents for her under the tree this year.

Oh, and my Christmas present this year — apparently I’m getting new underwear.