Many small birds, including cardinals and robins, are so territorial that they’re fly straight into a glass window, thinking they’re driving their own reflection away. This is a particular problem during breeding season, but birds may fly into windows year-round for a variety of reasons. They may be trying to land in indoor plants and not be aware of the glass, they might see open sky reflected in the window, or they might have a clear line of sight through one side of your house and out the other. Raptors may even fly into your windows while chasing songbirds. By taking a few common-sense measures, you can stop or at least reduce the incidence of bird vs. window impacts, breeding season or not.
Steps to Prevent Birds From Flying Into Windows
- Close the curtains or pull the window blinds down . White blinds, in particular, make it difficult for birds to see their reflections.
- Move houseplants away from inside windows. This reduces temptation for birds to fly into the window, trying to land in the houseplant.
- Hang outdoor houseplants every few feet along the window. These can help break up a bird’s reflection in the window, and as long as they’re within 3 ft. (.9 m) of the window, the bird isn’t like to fly from the plant into the window.
- Move bird feeders either within 3 ft. (.9 m) of windows, or more than 20 ft. (6.1 m) away from the windows, encouraging birds to congregate either close enough or far enough from the windows not to be tempted by reflections.Hang decorative window films, tape, ribbon or other ornaments inside the windows to break up any reflections and give the impression of a barrier.
- Expert recommendations on how close to hang the objects vary from every 4 inches (10 cm) to every 2 to 3 square feet (.6 to .9 square meters).
- If you’re concerned about ruining your own view, use stickers that reflect ultraviolet light. Birds can see UV rays, but humans cannot–so the stickers will appear solid to birds, but mostly transparent to you.
- If you’re not willing to hang anything inside, try hanging weather-proof decorations outside the windows instead.
- If you’re not willing to take these measures year-round, you may notice a few weeks during which birds fly into windows more frequently–breeding season. Soaping your windows, or taking any of the other measures described, during this brief period can greatly reduce the bird injury and death rate. Once breeding season is over, you can remove the window stickers or wash the soap off.
- If you step outside and look in through the window birds keep hitting, can you see all the way through your house and windows on the opposite side to open sky? If so, consider repositioning furniture or decorations inside the house to break this line of sight.