How To Stop Birds From Flying Into Windows?

Glass windows are worse than invisible to birds. They appear to be tempting places to fly into by reflecting greenery or the sky. Because of the sheer quantity of windows, the toll on birds is enormous. According to a 2014 study, window strikes kill up to 1 billion birds in the United States each year.

According to Christine Sheppard, director of the American Bird Conservancy's Bird Collisions Program, you can dramatically lessen the danger your home's windows provide to birds with three simple repairs. On its website, the organization provides substantial information about avoiding collisions. The Fatal Light Awareness Program also provides useful advice on how to avoid bird crashes.

What happens when birds fly into windows? Unfortunately, even when the bird is just temporarily stunned and gets to fly away, it often dies. These birds frequently die later from internal bleeding or bruises, particularly on the head. Muhlenberg College's Daniel Klem has been researching this topic since the 1970s. He argues, "Glass is an indiscriminate killer that takes the fit as well as the unfit of a species' population."

Photo by Susan Spear/Cornell Lab.

Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows?

Window crashes are classified into two types: daytime and nighttime. Birds fly through windows during the day because they see reflections of greenery or may see through the glass potted plants or vegetation on the other side. Nocturnal migrants (including most songbirds) crash at night as they fly into illuminated windows.

Lights detour nocturnal migrants from their original path for unknown causes, especially in low-ceiling or foggy environments. They mill about in the lit area, occasionally colliding with one another or the lighted building. As a result, migrants diverted by urban lighting may roost safely nearby, only to become exposed to daytime reflections in windows the next day. More information regarding this issue can be found in the BirdCast project and the Fatal Light Awareness Program.

Another reason is that birds will sometimes attack their reflection in a glass. This is particularly common in the spring when territoriality is high. Although it may bother the homeowner, it is rarely a hazard to the bird's existence. The majority of the solutions mentioned below for window strikes will also assist in resolving the problem of a bird attacking its reflection.

How to Keep Birds Out of Your Windows

Begin by finding potentially hazardous windows, such as huge picture windows, paired windows at right angles to one another, or windows with feeders outside. Step outdoors and take a bird's-eye view of your windows. If you see branches or the sky mirrored in or visible through the glass, the birds will see the same thing. Sheppard believes that previous guidelines for acceptable distances for feeders outside windows are no longer accurate. "If you have windows near a bird feeder, you should make them bird-friendly, regardless of how far away they are."

The window imprint left by a Mourning Dove.

Photo by Priscilla Bradley/PFW.

Existing Window Treatments

Vertical lines on windows should preferably be spaced in a 2-inch by 2-inch grid to prevent small birds. (This will protect the windows from even the smallest birds, such as hummingbirds, gnatcatchers, siskins, and kinglets.) All marking procedures should be used on the window's exterior.

  • Tempera paint or soap can be used. Mark the exterior of the window with soap or tempera paint, which is both cheap and durable. You can use a 2-inch by 2-inch grid design (as shown above), or you can get creative and paint patterns or artwork on your window.
  • Decals. Decorate the outside of the window with decals, stickers, sun catchers, mylar strips, masking tape, or other objects (even sticky notes). These are only effective when placed very close together (as shown above). It is worth noting that hawk silhouettes have little effect on bird deterrence. Remember that placing just one or two window stickers on a large window will not prevent collisions—they must cover the majority of the glass, with gaps too narrow for birds to fly through.
  • Tape and dot patterns. The long-lasting tape makes it easier to apply the proper spacing of dots over your window. Products like those found in Feather Friendly are effective at preventing collisions.
  • Apocalyptic Bird Savers. These closely spaced ropes, often known as "zen curtains," hang down over windows. They perform the same function as tape or decals but are easier to apply and can be more aesthetically beautiful. You can get these or make your own to match your windows.
  • Screens. Installing mosquito screens on the exterior of your windows is quite effective, as long as they cover the full area.
  • Netting. Cover the outside glass with netting that is at least 3 inches from the glass and taut enough to bounce birds off before they hit. Small-mesh netting (about 5/8′′ or 1.6 cm) is recommended so that birds don't get their heads or bodies trapped and may fly away unhurt. You may easily install and remove the netting by mounting it to a frame, such as a storm window frame.
  • Transparent film that is only one direction. Products like Collidescape let people on the inside see out while making the window appear opaque from the outside. According to Sheppard, they can minimize the quantity of light that enters your window (which can also reduce your cooling bills).

Reflected landscapes can confuse birds and cause deadly window strikes.

Photo by Susan Spear/Cornell Lab.

New Construction and Renovations

  • Install external shutters and keep them closed while you are not in the room or using the light or view. (These can also be significant energy saves!)
  • Install external sun blinds or awnings on windows to prevent sunlight reflection. Shades with remote control are offered.
  • Consider windows with screens on the full outside of the glass when building new or replacing windows.
  • Install inside vertical blinds and leave the slats half-open.
  • Avoid visual paths that go to the sky and greenery. Bright windows on the other wall from your picture window may provide the impression that there is an open way to the other side. Sometimes closing a window shade or a door between rooms will address the problem.

Turn off the lights

Lights Out campaigns are gaining traction in cities across the United States, including Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and New York. The all-night brightness of city office buildings and streetlights is especially hazardous to migrating birds, prolonging their journeys and rendering them vulnerable to window impacts. Turning off unnecessary lights and installing downward-facing lighting are two very straightforward solutions to address the issue of artificial light at night. It is still prudent to use any of the aforementioned strategies to avoid window impacts, especially for homeowners.


Examine a bird that has been disoriented by a window hit for exterior injuries. If the wings are both properly held, neither dangling, and the eyes are normal, examine if it can perch on a branch without assistance. If this is the case, let it heal on its own.

If the bird appears to be injured, get it to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Broken bones frequently require immediate attention to recover adequately without surgery. Find a rehabber near you by using this internet directory.

Meanwhile, put it in a dark container, such as a shoebox, and leave it somewhere quiet, away from pets and other predators, for 15 minutes. If the weather is particularly cold, you may need to bring it inside but don't overheat the bird. Do not attempt to feed or water it, and avoid handling it. The darkness will soothe the bird as it recovers, which should take only a few minutes unless it is critically hurt. If you open the box indoors to check on it, it may escape and be difficult to get back out!

Open the box every 15 minutes or so, and if the bird flies away, that's it! Take it to a wildlife rehabilitator if it doesn't recover within a couple of hours. Keep in mind that it is theoretically unlawful to handle a migratory bird without a permit. Because medically assisting an injured bird necessitates training, your responsibility is limited to transporting the bird to a rehabilitator.

Post a Comment

To Top