Prevent Birds from Hitting Your Windows

Glass barriers and windows pose a significant threat to our feathered friends every day, but especially during migration.

According to the Bird Alliance of Oregon, window strikes are the cause of death for up to 1 billion birds each year. At Think Wild’s hospital, over 25% of all birds treated between September 1 and December 31, 2023 were admitted due to injuries caused by window collisions. Of those patients, 68% did not survive.

Window collisions happen year round but are more prevalent during migration when birds are tired, hungry, and in a new place. We also see more window collisions during fall migration since there are more young, inexperienced birds migrating for the first time after a spring and summer of breeding. Preventing window collisions is essential to the conservation of avian species and luckily, there are simple ways you can help!

Think Wild offers services to prevent birds from hitting your windows.

Ways to Prevent Bird Window Strikes

Birds aren’t able to distinguish windows and glass as a barrier and are often attracted to them instead due to reflections of trees, foliage, and clouds.

There are a variety of permanent and temporary infrastructure changes that can be made, including decals and films, to help make glass more visible to birds and prevent strikes. 

Window decals are adhesive stickers or decals applied to windows to make them more visible to birds. These decals often feature patterns or designs that break up reflections and alert birds to the presence of glass, reducing the likelihood of collisions.

It’s best to place window decals two inches by two inches apart. You can purchase Window Alert decals on our website, which are removable, adhesive stickers that include a UV coating and come in different shapes and sizes. Pinecone Bird Strike Window Decal

Window decals should be visible from 10 ft away to ensure birds will have enough time to change their route and avoid colliding with your window. Dark colored decals or tape can be difficult for birds to see, so bright and light colors are best. 

Stripes are another great method, and we often use graph tape at 2″ intervals to create stripes that prevent strikes during migration.

There are several effective external film and glass covering options. Window film to prevent bird strikesSome options are more expensive but are highly effective. They typically have a guaranteed lifetime of 5 to 7 years, although they often last longer. You can shop online for film options or contact Think Wild for guidance and installation services.

Use temporary markers to directly apply visible markings for birds to see following the 2×2 spacing rule. Draw light lines or colored patterns directly on the outside of your windows to have the greatest success at avoiding bird-window collisions. When needed, temporary paint is easily removed using vinegar and water.

Many consider the Acopian bird or Zen bird curtain to be an elegant and simple method of reducing bird collisions with glass. Acopian bird curtainThis method uses 1/8-inch paracord sections spaced 3.5 to 4.25 inches apart, hanging the height of the window and attached to a horizontal section of paracord running along the top frame of the window. The paracord creates a visual barrier for birds. Acopian curtains can be purchased pre-made, or constructed of readily available and inexpensive materials. Contact us for help.

External insect screens or netting on windows is an effective and relatively inexpensive treatment to reduce the visual reflection in the glass, and might also help prevent some injuries by providing a cushion between the bird and the window. This treatment can be installed on individual panes or attached to a façade. To be effective, the netting must be placed far enough in front of the window that a bird hitting it will not collide with the glass behind the net after hitting it. The netting should have openings no larger than ½ inch and it must be completely taut so that birds do not get trapped in it.

Several companies sell screens or barriers that can be attached with suction cups or eye hooks. These treatments can be used on new construction, renovations, and retro-fits.

Considerations for Your Home

Reduce nighttime lighting

  • Extinguish lights or install motion sensors on all lights (both interior and exterior) that activate only when people are present. Motion sensors are inexpensive and save energy;
  • Use window coverings to reduce bird attraction to lighted buildings;
  • Ensure all exterior lighting is “fully shielded” so that light is prevented from being directed skyward. “Fully shielded” light fixtures are defined as those with an opaque shield so that all light is only emitted downward below the lowest light emitting part of the fixture. “Fully shielded” is the same as “zero up light” and “dark sky compliant;”
  • Comply with current Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) marking and lighting guidance on obstructions (ensure that required obstruction lighting includes only L-864 flashing lights with appropriate flash rates, and non-flashing L-810 lights extinguished or reprogrammed to flash).

Keep plants, especially trees away from windows

Place indoor plants away from windows so birds don’t mistake indoor plants for outdoor foliage. It is recommended that you also install window treatment of some kind to have the greatest success at deterring birds.

Keep bird feeders away from windows

Many bird lovers like to offer bird feeders in their yards. While having feeders near a window can increase the risk of window strikes, there are a few recommendations of feeder placement to help reduce that risk. A study from the Wilson Bulletin found that feeders placed within 1 meter from the window are the safest for birds (Klem Jr. et al., 2004). Bird mortality rates also went down when feeders were placed farther than 30 feet away. Placing feeders right next to a window or as far away from the window, possibly at the end of your yard, is shown to help reduce the possibility of a bird hitting the window. It’s also best to have window deterrents regardless of where you place your feeder.


Another option to help entice birds away from your windows is by landscaping your yard with native plants that can provide a natural food source for birds. This can also help redirect the flight path of birds, although bird deterring window treatment is also recommended.