The first hint that we are on our way to interview a bird lover is the owl sitting atop the home’s sign post. Indications become more prevalent as we park in this Vermont native’s drive and approach her front door. Bird baths and feeders dot the perimeter of the yard, spiral bird tape create rainbow prisms near glass doors and decals decorate windows throughout the house. There’s an enchanted Snow White-esque feel to Kathy and David Siegel’s home. During our recent visit, one stormy January afternoon, it was obvious that animals found refuge here. Hummingbirds’ unfathomably fast wing beats would come to a rest, perched atop any one of the half dozen feeders; red-winged black birds took turns feeding on the dozen other feeders while dark eyed juncos, towhees and house finches splashed in nearby bird baths.
It wasn’t that long ago that the Siegel’s lived near a wilderness of another kind. The pair had no intentions of moving from Los Angeles five years ago when they came to The Preserve to visit a friend. Attracted to the seamless blending of the interior and exterior, it was merely a matter of four months until they had sold their home in LA and moved to The Preserve.
“During my first week at the new house, I was gardening and BOOM!” Kathy exclaimed, “A bird hit a window and then flew into the house through an open door.”
Quick on her feet, she ran to grab a towel and throw it over the bird.
She continued, “With a 4 to 5-foot wing span I knew it was a raptor, but my adrenaline was solely focused on carrying the bird out of the house and letting it go.”
After watching the stunning hawk fly off, she experienced an average of three bird strikes per week on various windows throughout their home. Since that feather-filled welcome wagon, Kathy has been on a mission to find the most effective and least obtrusive tool to prevent bird fatalities as a result of window strikes.
After years of testing various prototypes, the active board member of the Conservancy shared her assessment.
“Spider web decals are pretty good. Yellow markers on glass didn’t do anything. UV reflective decals had to be replaced about every half year and didn’t stay well on the outside of windows. Reflective tape is too noisy. Hands down the best method to reduce bird collisions and fatalities is clear tape by CollidEscape.”
Since putting CollidEscape tape on the more problematic windows in the kitchen and living room, they went from multiple bird strikes weekly to one every few months.
“That’s progress,” she shared smiling.
When asked why she spends a couple of hours weekly cleaning bird feeders and baths, refilling food and water bins, planting native plants to attract hummingbirds and monarch butterflies –her reply would make all historic and present stewards of The Preserve’s land smile and nod in agreement.
“When I think about what we do and the impact of what we do. It matters. Especially living here at The Preserve. We are all stewards of this beautiful place we call home. Our lives, the land and the wildlife are all connected.”
Are you interested in trying out this tape in your home? Be one of the first ten to swing by the Conservancy’s office at 26700 Rancho San Carlos Road and we’ll gift you a complimentary roll to get started.
If you, or someone you know, would like to feature in this section of the newsletter, please get in touch. We’d love the opportunity to share your inspiring stories with our community.
By Angela Hains