Pine Warbler sitting at window

Things You Can Do to Prevent Window Strikes

Pine Warbler sitting at window
Pine Warbler

Thump! It’s that sickening sound that can only mean another bird has flown into one of your windows. Birds cannot see glass, especially if it is reflecting the nearby habitat or sky. These reflections do not register as such to a bird. This is why millions of birds die or are injured each year in collisions with glass windows in homes and office buildings.
Here are some suggested options for making your windows less deadly for birds.

  • Nets or screens in front of the glass are the only methods of physically preventing window strikes. BWD columnist and contributing editor Julie Zickefoose installed permanent netting in front of the windows of her home studio, which were prone to bird strikes. Read about her solution, including instructions for installing such an effective solution here.

Other strategies and products can visually deter birds from flying into the glass surface, and some have proven quite effective.

  • Acopian blinds. Invented by Jeff Acopian, this technique involves installing freely swaying cords, evenly spaced, on the outside of the window. Detailed instructions for making your own, or ordering custom-made blinds, are available at birdsavers.com.
  • Tape or Decals. In order to be effective, tape, decals, or marking must be applied at a spacing of four inches vertically and horizontally. Collidescape makes an adhesive product for this very purpose. Other decals are effective, too, but must be applied densely—not more than four inches apart. The American Bird Conservancy has tested many of these, including their own product, ABC BirdTape, and rated each on its effectiveness. Check out their complete list of suggestions here: https://bit.ly/1Y1Qngr
  • Move your feeders to within three feet of your window. Many window-killed birds are familiar feeder birds that use our backyards every day. The idea here is that you’ll disrupt the birds’ usual flight path to and from the feeders. Moving the feeders closer to the windows can sometimes help because birds startled off the feeders by a hawk don’t build up enough speed to hurt themselves, and being closer to the window, the birds might be able to see that it is not an effective escape route. Remember that moving the feeders will do nothing to prevent nonfeeder birds, such as migrant thrushes and warblers, from hitting the glass.
  •  Feather Guard. Perhaps my favorite reader tip of all time was featured as a “My Way” in the September/October 2001 issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest. The idea is called FeatherGuard. BWD reader Stiles Thomas of New Jersey created FeatherGuard. His creation consists of bird feathers strung about 8 inches apart on fishing line. These lines of feathers are then strung vertically across frequently struck windows. Birds see the feathers and do not continue to fly into the windows. Do the birds see the feathers as evidence of predation? Do the moving feathers frighten the birds? Nobody knows for sure, but I know from experience that FeatherGuard works to reduce bird collisions on problem windows!

Another website with solid advice on preventing bird from hitting windows is BirdSafe.
 

6 thoughts on “Things You Can Do to Prevent Window Strikes”

  1. Benjamin Waner

    Once I was volunteering at a nature center whe I heard a thump. A hummingbird had flewn into a window. I went outside to pick it up. It was alive, so I brought it in for rehabilitation. As soon as I got in, ANOTHER hummingbird (of the same species and gender of course) flew into the same window. It flew out of my hands. The first hummingbird regained consciousness after 30 minutes and was released. The birds were lucky, as there are no screens or decals. The good thing is the feeders are very close to the window.

  2. Whoa! Several of these suggestions are just plain wrong, and others are completely unproven! BWD, shame on you for not fact checking on this important issue! Please check out The American Bird Conservancy’s website for the REAL best things to do…

    1. Dear BK Birder: Thank you for your input. This is a very old post, written before many of the products on ABC’s list were available. I’ve updated the post to include links to ABC full list of options. I trust you’ll agree with these edits. Again, thanks.

  3. I have to agree with BKBirder; this is a very poor list. there are high performance and guaranteed solutions available that do not require maintenance or cover your windows with oil!

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