Most people who have backyards and gardens in their homes love birds as their melodious voice brings life into the place. In fact, many people even put up bird-feeders in their gardens to invite more of these birdies.
However, did you know that almost one billion birds die every year by collisions into windows? Of course, most of these accidents happen to birds that are close to house windows, like the ones in your backyards.
We know you wouldn’t want your beloved birds to collide with your house windows. Don’t worry; in this article, we will tell you all about the prevention techniques of bird-window collisions. Additionally, we will also talk about how to help a window collision victim.
Here are some useful tips to avoid birds window collision:
- Mark the outside of your window with paint or soap, so that the birds realize that it’s a barrier and don’t try to fly through it.
- Use shades and shutters on the windows to decrease night-time illumination.
- Place your bird feeders and birdbaths strategically. Either place them closer than 3 feet from your window or farther than 15 feet from it.
Why do birds collide into windows?
You might be wondering how it is possible for birds to fly straight into a window. The explanation behind it, however, is quite understandable.
Although birds have exceptional eyesight, they have a hard time distinguishing glass from the image reflecting in it, like the sky or plants. These reflections do not appear as such to the birds.
Mainly, there are two types of window-bird collisions: daytime and night-time collisions.
Daytime collision: Most window-bird collisions take place during the day. The birds fly into windows due to the sky and vegetation that is reflected on them.
Night-time collision: At night, most of the nocturnal birds (including songbirds) fly into windows because they are attracted to the light visible behind them. For reasons that are not yet understood, nocturnal migrating birds are often diverted from their natural path due to the lights, especially in low-ceiling or foggy conditions.
Apart from these two, there is another reason behind bird-window collision as well. When they see their reflection in windows, birds often try to attack it. These incidents take place more frequently during their mating seasons when territoriality is running high among them (especially the males).
Although these events are seldom fatal to the birds themselves, they can be annoying for the homeowners. The solutions we will be talking about in the next section will also help solve the problem of birds attacking their own reflection.
Solutions to prevent bird-window collisions
If the last section has you concerned about the birds in your background, don’t worry. There are many ways to decrease the likelihood of bird-window collisions. You can apply these methods from both the inside and the outside to make your windows more visible and, hence, avoidable.
- Mark the outside of the window with tempera paint or simply soap, which is both inexpensive and longer-lasting. You can either make a grid pattern (no more than 4 inches by 2 inches) or get creative and draw different patterns and artwork on the windows.
- Check all of your house windows from the outside for “visual tunnels” that birds might believe they can fly through. Add curtains or close doors whenever needed to eliminate these tunnels. Remember to check the windows at different times of the day because depending on the sun’s angles, the reflections might vary.
- You can decrease night-time illumination by simply using shades and shutters, and turning off the lights in a room when it is not being used. Similarly, try to avoid lighting candles or putting up decorative lights on windows.
- Also called “zen curtains”, Acopian Bird Savers are sparsely spaced ropes that hang over the windows of houses and office buildings. They work in the same way as tapes but have a more convenient set-up and are aesthetically more pleasing.
- When selecting window glasses, choose frosted or etched ones, which will not reflect as much as clear windows, reducing bird-window collisions. This can either be done with new windows or by getting a glass etching kit at your nearest craft store, which is ideal for use on windows. Easy-to-install cling films can also be applied on windows to create a frosted effect.
- If you have large windows, try hanging sheer curtains, which will minimize the reflections. When closed, these curtains can efficiently decrease window collisions without noticeably reducing the light and visibility.
- Remove houseplants that are placed near windows to prevent them from reflecting on the windows. Using a sheer curtain to create filtered sunlight will work in the same way.
- Installing even a simple mosquito net will make the birds realize that the window is not a path, so long as the net is on the outside of the window and covers its entire surface.
- Choose window designs with wood stripes, lattices, or other patterns on the glass or the framing to deter the birds. With sliding doors and French doors, you can also buy removable lattices at your convenience.
- If you buy a new house or even buy new windows, consider having them angled towards the ground rather than the sky or your garden/backyard. However, depending on the window’s design, this technique can void a window’s warranty or might not be possible with the house’s structure.
- If you have put up a bird-bath or a feeder, try moving it closer than 3 feet to the window or farther than 15 feet away. The proximity of the window is an essential factor in determining the injury to the birds. If the birds are very close to the window, it will not be possible for them to build up enough speed for an injury if they fly at it. On the other hand, if they are too far away from the window, they might be able to avoid it altogether.
- Netting is another efficient method to prevent window collisions. Cover the outside of your window with the netting (it should be at least 3 inches away from the glass.) Small-mesh netting (around 5/8″ or 1.6 cm) works the best since the birds don’t get their heads or bodies entangled in this net but will bounce off unharmed. For easy installation and removal, mount the netting on a frame, like a storm window frame.
In-built modifications to prevent bird-window collisions
Are you buying a new home or renovating your old one? The following are some of the in-built modifications you can make to prevent bird-window collision more efficiently:
- Opt for exterior shutters and close them when the room is not in use. Besides being bird-friendly, these shutters are great energy-savers.
- Install external sunshades/awnings, which block the reflection of sunlight. For more convenience, you can also go for remote-controlled shades, which are easily available both online and offline.
- Add interior vertical blinds and keep the slats only half-open. There will be a lesser reflection on the outside of the window and sufficient sunlight inside the room if you do these things.
- Try to avoid visual paths to the sky and vegetation. Bright windows on the opposite wall of your picture window can give the illusion of an open way to the other side. Closing the window’s shade or the door between the rooms can help with this problem.
Debunking popular bird-window collision solutions that do not work
Aside from the solutions we discussed in the last section, you will find several more on the internet. However, not all of them are effective. Now, we know that you don’t want to spend your money on ineffective methods. So, in this section, we will be mentioning some of the commonly given solutions to prevent bird-window collisions that do not actually work.
Hawk decalcomania (decals): Using the shapes of a few hawk silhouette decals as an obstruction will not prevent the birds from crashing into windows. In fact, the shape of a decal is entirely irrelevant to its effectiveness.
However, if you use many decals and place them with appropriate spacing, it may create a visual obstacle that the birds cannot fly around.
Owl figurines: Placing plastic, wooden, or ceramic figurines of owls on poles or roofs close to dangerous windows can initially be effective at keeping the birds away. However, the implicated threat will soon fade away as the birds will realize that the decoy does not move or behave like a predatory bird.
Helping the birds victimized in window collision
Before helping a bird-window collision victim, you should first understand what happens to the body of a bird if it survives a collision.
In most of the bird-window collision accidents, the birds perish from the impact. However, sometimes, the birds merely appear stunned. In just a few minutes, they recover and fly away. These injured birds often suffer from internal bruising and hemorrhaging, especially on the brain, leading to their deaths. Stunned birds are also less agile and disoriented, making them vulnerable to predatory birds or more collisions.
If you come across a bird that appears dazed from a window collision, look for external injuries. Check if the wings are held properly, neither one dangling and if the eyes seem normal. If the body seems in order, see if it can perch on a branch without assistance. If so, leave it to heal on its own.
If the bird has a noticeable external injury, take it to a wildlife rehabilitator as soon as possible. Broken bones in birds usually require proper medical attention within hours or sometimes minutes to heal correctly without any surgeries.
Taking multiple measures for better results
If you want to see the best results, use several internal and external measures simultaneously. Using one tactic may reduce the number of birds injured in collisions or the fatality of the injuries. However, using several tactics at the same time will result in the prevention of unnecessary injuries and deaths altogether.
Conclusion: How to prevent birds from hitting windows?
Although backyard birds are a joy to behold, if you’re attracting them to your yard, their well-being and safety are a responsibility you must take seriously. The accidents of birds hitting windows are quite common these days and pose a threat to both the birds and your property. If you go through this article carefully, you will come across various measures to prevent the bird-window collision.