This post contains photos of a dead animal.
On Tuesday my boss, who knows I’m interested in the problem we have on campus with birds hitting windows, mentioned to me that he’d noticed what he thought was a dead kestrel on the ground outside the boys’ dorm.
It wasn’t a kestrel.
The bird that met its end by braining itself on a dorm room window was, in fact, a Ruffed Grouse, Bonasa umbellus. I’d seen them in the woods around here, but never in the heart of campus where all the buildings and human activity are, so this came as a surprise.
As sad as it is to come across a dead creature like this – especially when humans contributed to its death – it’s also undeniably cool to get the chance to see a grouse up close. I was fascinated by the rows of yellow lobes running down the sides of its feet. What purpose could feet like this have…?
I’m still working with school administrators to figure out what’s most feasible to do with the windows to reduce bird strikes. I’m confident we’ll get there eventually.