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Window Bird Strike Prevention [Comprehensive Guide]

Window bird strikes 2

Window bird strike prevention occur when birds fly directly into glass windows or doors, often resulting in injury or death. This is a major problem that affects hundreds of millions of birds each year globally. Birds can fatally collide with windows in all settings – homes, office buildings, schools, and other structures.

Birds strike windows because they either don’t see the glass, or they see reflections of trees and sky which appear to be a clear flight path. Transparent and reflective glass are especially dangerous. Window strikes are one of the top human-related causes of bird deaths worldwide.

Many species are vulnerable to window collisions, including songbirds, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, and birds of prey. Strikes peak during migration seasons in spring and fall when billions of birds are on the move. Young birds just leaving the nest are also especially prone to confusion and injury.

Deaths from window strikes can negatively impact local and regional bird populations. Beyond the direct mortality they cause, window collisions may also affect reproductive success and lifespans of local bird species. Preventing window strikes is crucial for reducing unintended harm to birds from human structures.

Understanding the Causes of Window Bird Strikes

Window Bird Strikes

1. Reflections and transparency

Birds don’t see glass the same way humans do. For them, a window’s transparency or reflectivity are cues of an unobstructed path. When the window is transparent, they perceive it as a clear flight route. Reflective windows doubly confuse birds by mirroring the surrounding landscape. They see the reflection as reality and fly directly into the glass believing they are heading towards trees or sky.

Window bird strikes are a more common occurrence than many may realize. The numbers are staggering, with an estimated 365 million to 988 million birds dying annually from hitting windows in the United States alone, according to a study published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications.

That’s a huge number, and you can’t help but wonder, “How many of those strikes happen right in our own backyards?” If you’ve ever found a stunned or lifeless bird beneath your window, you know the heartbreaking feeling it brings. This is why it’s vital to take preventive measures to reduce these window collisions.

2. Attraction to indoor plants and feeders near windows

Birds are drawn to sources of food and vegetation. Windows near indoor plants or bird feeders become collision risks, as birds accelerate towards the greenery without realizing the glass barrier. Backyard feeders placed directly in front of windows also lure in birds that can fatally crash after visiting the feeder. Any attraction near glass can set up a dangerous trap for birds focused on getting to the plants or food.

window bird strike prevention

3. Confusion caused by window decals and stickers

Some types of window decorations meant to deter strikes may actually increase collisions. Small decals, stickers, or even decorative etching don’t effectively warn birds. The markings appear as vegetation to birds from a distance, enticing them to investigate and fly towards the glass. The decals must be spaced closely enough to visibly disrupt the transparency of the window itself. Otherwise they simply accentuate the illusion of safe passage to birds.

4. The Migratory Season

During migratory seasons, window strikes become a significant threat to bird populations. A study by the American Bird Conservancy estimates that in the United States alone, nearly a billion birds die annually due to window collisions. This number is alarmingly high, especially considering the overall decline in bird populations.

The problem is exacerbated during the night when migratory birds are on the move. Many species choose to travel under the cover of darkness, using the stars for navigation. However, artificial lights from buildings can disorient them, causing them to circle buildings repeatedly and increasing the risk of window collisions.

Understanding this issue is the first step towards preventing these unnecessary fatalities. By making small changes to our homes and buildings, we can help reduce bird-window collisions and contribute to bird conservation efforts.

Why Should You Care Window Bird Strike Prevention?

You might ask, “Why should I care if a bird hits my window?” The answer is twofold: ethical considerations and the  role of birds in our ecosystem.

1. Ethical Considerations

As bird enthusiasts and nature lovers, it’s our duty to ensure we’re not contributing to the decline of bird populations. Every bird that strikes a window is a loss to its species, and given the already dwindling numbers of many bird species, this is a serious concern.

2. Birds and Our Ecosystem

Additionally, birds play a crucial role in our ecosystem. They help control pests, pollinate plants, disperse seeds, and even act as environmental indicators, highlighting issues within our ecosystem.

Strategies to Prevent Window Bird Strikes

hand stick decals for bird

1. Installing bird-friendly window treatments

There are many window treatment options to make glass visible to birds and prevent confusion. Covering the outside surface with films, screens, netting, shutters, or exterior shades physically blocks passage. Dot patterns spaced 2 inches apart or vertical stripes 4 inches apart are recommended. These interrupt reflections and transparency. UV-reflective films, frosted or patterned glass also work when uniformly applied across the glass.

2. Placing bird feeders and plants away from windows

Bird feeders and indoor plants should be moved well away from windows. Experts recommend keeping them at least 30 feet from any glass whenever possible. This gives birds adequate space to slow down and recognize the window barrier after visiting a feeder. For homes where this isn’t feasible, try angling feeders so birds don’t fly directly at windows or placing them very close to the glass to prevent build up of speed.

3. Using window decals and stickers to deter birds

To be effective, window stickers and decals must follow the 2 x 4 rule – horizontal rows spaced 2 inches apart and vertical columns 4 inches apart. They should be at least 1 inch in diameter. This grid pattern interrupts reflections and transparency when viewed from a distance. Avoid large picture-style decals, as birds only see the details and edges. Solid strips of tape, decals with small perforations, or rainbow dot patterns all work well.

4. Creating a visual barrier with screens or netting

Installing screens or netting on the exterior side of windows creates a physical barrier to block birds. The netting should have a small mesh size (5/8 inches or less) so birds don’t get trapped. Taut netting installed at least 3 inches from the glass prevents collisions and visibility of reflections. Exterior screens also add a second filtered layer of protection. Avoid large-gauge netting as birds can still hit the glass through wider mesh openings.

5. Bird Safe Glass

If you’re considering replacing your windows or building a new home, investing in bird-safe glass can be a worthwhile consideration. This type of glass features a pattern that is visible to birds but nearly invisible to humans. In recent years, there’s been a growing concern about bird collisions with glass structures. Rather ironically, the place we love to watch birds from – our window, can become a fatal hazard for them. But don’t worry! Just as technology has advanced in all other aspects of our lives, it has also given us bird-safe glass.

Bird-safe glass is designed with a patterned coating that is visible to birds but almost transparent to humans. It’s a win-win, we get to enjoy our bird watching, and they get to fly safely. There are several types of bird-safe glass, such as:

– Fritted glass: Tiny ceramic particles are fused to the glass, creating patterns that birds can see and avoid.
– Etched or sandblasted glass: These methods create a frosted appearance, which can deter birds.
– UV-reflective glass: Birds see ultraviolet light, which humans can’t, so UV-reflective glass appears as a barrier to them.

While the cost of bird-safe glass can be higher than regular glass, think of it as an investment in your feathered friends’ safety and the preservation of bird populations. Plus, installation is usually no more difficult than installing any other type of window.

Additional Measures to Protect Birds

Providing alternative sources of food and water

Supplementing bird-friendly landscaping with additional food and water sources helps attract birds away from dangerous window areas. Birdbaths, fountains, and drippers provide fresh water. Platform feeders with seed mixes or suet offer daily food. Strategically place these in safer zones away from windows to minimize activity near glass while still supporting the local bird population.

Planting bird-friendly landscaping

Landscaping also plays a key role. Planting dense bushes, shrubs, and trees directly adjacent to windows obscures reflection and transparency. Thick vegetation makes glass less visible and enticing to birds. Choose native plants with fruits and berries to naturally supplement food sources. Also avoid trees and feeders that attract birds directly towards windows.

Educating others about the issue and promoting awareness

Community outreach raises awareness so others can take action to protect birds. Contact local schools, businesses, and homeowners associations about the dangers of window strikes. Share informative flyers and posters explaining the issue and solutions. Motivate others to implement bird-friendly treatments for their windows by explaining the benefits for conservation. More participation means less risk for local bird populations.


Window collisions are a major yet preventable threat to birds worldwide. Understanding what attracts birds to glass and implementing deterrents like screens, decals, and blinds can successfully minimize strikes. Additionally, educating others creates a ripple effect of awareness and bird-friendly action in the community. With proper safeguards and collective participation, we can make buildings much safer for local and migratory bird populations. If you are interest learning about Cardinal bird you can go here