Why Birds Fly Into Windows? Prevent Birds from Flying into Windows

Why Birds Fly Into Windows Prevent Birds from Hitting Windows
Why Birds Fly Into Windows

Have you ever heard a thud against your window and found a stunned or injured bird outside? This common problem affects millions of birds each year. Let’s explore why birds fly into windows and how we can help stop this from happening.

Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows?

Birds often crash into windows for two main reasons:

  1. Reflections: Windows can reflect trees, sky, or plants. Birds see these reflections and think they’re flying towards real objects.
  2. Transparency: Some birds can’t see glass. They might try to fly through what looks like an open space.

Daytime Collisions

During the day, birds may see reflections of trees or sky in windows. They think they’re flying towards these objects, not realizing there’s a solid surface in the way.

Nighttime Collisions

At night, lights inside buildings can confuse birds. This is especially true for birds that migrate at night. Bright lights can draw them off course, leading to crashes.

Common Reasons for Collisions

  • Reflections: Birds see the reflection of the sky or trees and think it’s a clear path.
  • Transparency: Birds see through the glass to plants or other objects inside.

Territorial Behavior: Birds, especially males, may attack their reflection, thinking it’s a rival.

The Impact on Bird Populations

Sadly, many birds die from hitting windows. Some estimates say up to 1 billion birds die this way each year in the United States alone. This is a big problem for bird populations.

Even if a bird seems to fly away after hitting a window, it might be hurt. Internal injuries can cause birds to die later.

How to Prevent Birds from Flying into Windows

The good news is that there are many ways to help prevent birds from crashing into windows. Here are some ideas:

1. Make Windows More Visible

  • Use decals or stickers: Put these on the outside of windows. Make sure they’re close together (no more than 2 inches apart).
  • Draw on windows: Use soap or special window markers to create patterns birds can see.
  • Hang strings or ribbons: Place these outside windows, spaced about 4 inches apart.

2. Reduce Reflections

  • Use screens: Window screens can break up reflections and cushion impacts.
  • Close blinds or curtains: This can reduce reflections and make windows less see-through.

3. Move Bird Feeders

feeders very close to windows bird window feeder
Feeders very close to windows
  • Place feeders either very close to windows (less than 3 feet) or far away (more than 30 feet).
  • This helps birds avoid building up too much speed if they fly towards the window.

4. Use Special Glass

  • When building or replacing windows, consider using bird-friendly glass. This type of glass has patterns that birds can see.

What to Do If a Bird Hits Your Window

If you find a bird that has hit your window:

  1. Gently pick up the bird using gloves or a soft cloth.
  2. Place it in a small box with air holes.
  3. Keep the box in a quiet, dark place.
  4. Check on the bird after about an hour.
  5. If it seems alert, take the box outside and open it. The bird may fly away.
  6. If the bird doesn’t recover, contact a local wildlife rescue center for help.

Bird-Friendly Window Options

Here’s a table of some bird-friendly window products:

ProductHow It WorksProsCons
Window DecalsStick to outside of windowEasy to applyNeed replacing over time
Bird ScreensCover whole windowVery effectiveMay affect view
One-Way FilmMakes windows look solid from outsideKeeps view from insideCan be expensive
UV StickersBirds can see them, but humans can’tDon’t affect viewNeed special application

Tips for Different Types of Windows

Different windows may need different approaches:

  • Large Picture Windows: These are often the most dangerous. Use multiple methods like decals and external screens.
  • Sliding Glass Doors: Apply vertical stripes or hang strings in front of the door.
  • Bay Windows: Pay extra attention to the angles where birds might see reflections.

Seasonal Considerations

Bird window collisions can happen year-round, but some seasons are worse:

  • Spring and Fall: More collisions during migration seasons.
  • Breeding Season: Male birds might attack their reflections, thinking it’s a rival.

Beyond Your Home: Community Action

Helping birds isn’t just about your own windows. Here are ways to make a bigger difference:

  1. Talk to your neighbors about bird-friendly windows.
  2. Ask local businesses to make their windows safer for birds.
  3. Support laws that require bird-friendly building designs.


By taking steps to make our windows safer, we can help protect birds. Every action, no matter how small, can make a difference. Remember, preventing birds from flying into windows not only saves bird lives but also makes bird watching more enjoyable for everyone.

Let’s work together to create a safer world for our feathered friends!

Summary Table : Prevent Birds from Flying into Windows

Prevention MethodDescription
Window ScreensAttach screens or nets a few inches from the window.
Tape StripsUse chart tape to create vertical or horizontal stripes on the window.
Decals and StickersPlace decals or stickers closely together on the outside of the window.
Soap or Paint PatternsUse soap or tempera paint to create patterns on the window.
External Shutters or ShadesClose shutters or use sun shades to reduce reflections.
Move Feeders and BathsPlace bird feeders and baths within 3 feet or more than 30 feet from windows.
Bird-Safe GlassUse fritted, angled, or UV-reflective glass.
Post-it NotesCreate a dense checkerboard pattern on the window with Post-it notes.
Paracord CurtainsHang pre-shrunk paracord a few inches apart in front of the window.

By implementing these strategies, you can help make your home safer for birds and reduce the number of tragic window collisions.

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