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Harry's Ghost Bird


Well, our old friend and commenter Harry "Gipper" Morris has absolutely outdone himself... Take a look at the photograph he took of the image left behind after a non-lethal bird hit on his glass sliding doors...

Cropped_full_size_Harry_Gipper_Morris_Ghost Bird_P9150017.JPG

Copyrighted photo used with permission of creator, Harry "Gipper" Morris

Click on image to enlarge

Unfortunately, this isn't the only photograph of this type -- Google on: 'bird strike window' and then look at the 'Images'. However, it still Is very impressive. Here's Harry's explanation of the event...

The photo is real and it's all mine. I took it. It's in the original format directly from camera to computer, and unaltered in any way. Looking more closely at the image this morning, I think the image came about from oils in the bird's feathers combining with a thin film of dust on the window (glass door) which left such a perfect image of the bird on impact. I produced a similar "whitish" image when I pressed my finger on the glass near the bird image. The brightness, or whitish color, came from the sun at low declanation (5:30pm) refracting through the oils on the glass, back to the eye or camera lense. This morning the image is still there but only in faint grey tones.

My guess is that Harry is right on about the oil coming off the feathers and leaving their mark. That alone speaks volumes about the force of the collision. Though estimates vary widely, window hits possibly account for 100 million to 900+ million dead birds per years. (And here's a great series of suggestions regarding this problem from the Humane Society.)

So many thanks go out to Mr. Morris for this remarkable image!

By those wondrous feeders...


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Some birds that don't have the preen gland like doves and herons also grow powder down feathers.

These feathers grow continuously and never molt. Instead the barbs at their tips constantly disintegrate into a fine, talc-like, water-resistant powder.

My feeders are close enough to the window so that a scared dove can't gain enough speed to hurt himself when he bounces off the window. He still leaves a mark though.

More on bird feathers can be found at AllAboutBirds.com:

Hi Sarah,

Thanks so much for the info and readership!


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