Window Treatment for Bird Strikes

Window Treatment for Bird Strikes

Glass barriers and windows pose a significant threat to our feathered friends every day but especially during migration. According to the Portland Audubon Society, window strikes are the cause of death for up to 1 billion birds each year. At the Think Wild 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 birds after a spring and summer of breeding, and because there are many young, inexperienced birds migrating for the first time. Preventing window collisions is essential to the conservation of avian species and luckily, there are simple ways you can help!

Birds often mistake highly reflective windows as real environments.

Birds aren’t able to distinguish windows as a barrier and often get attracted to them from lights or natural reflections like trees and clouds. However, there are ways you can help to break up those reflections that birds so often mistake for real environments. Here are some ways you can transform your windows in order to be more bird-friendly.

Window Decals and Window Film: 

It is important when using window decals or deterrent stickers to place them no more than two inches by two inches apart. While some sources say using four by four inch spacing prevents bird collisions, it is not as effective for preventing smaller species from hitting windows such as hummingbirds, bushtits, and kinglets. Feather Friendly offers affordable window film and installation instructions and has been found to be even more effective than decals. Check out Feather Friendly products and learn more here! Decals can also be effective when using the 2×2 spacing recommendation. You can purchase Window Alert decals on our website

Pinecone Bird Strike Window Decal

When opting to use window decals, it is important to use the 2×2 rule and to be sure to place the decals on the outside of the window where birds can see them. They 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. Window Alert decals have a UV coating to help increase visibility to birds. You can purchase Window Alert decals on the Think Wild website! Placing a few decals on your window only acts as an obstacle a bird must avoid, but is not successful in deterring birds from hitting the window. In order to be effective, decals must be placed no more than two inches apart to create the illusion of a cluttered environment a bird has to avoid completely. 

Chalk Markers or Tape: 

Use chalk markers or tape to directly apply visible markings for birds to see following the 2×2 spacing rule. Tape or draw light colored patterns directly on the outside of your windows to have the greatest success at avoiding bird-window collisions.

Bird Safe Screens or Netting:

Using external insect screens or parachute cord curtains can help create a barrier visible to birds. This method can be very helpful in reducing the number of bird strikes as it prevents reflections being seen on the highly reflective glass. Purchase or learn to DIY your own parachute cord curtains here.

Turn Off Unnecessary Lights at Night: 

Migratory birds often fly at night and can get disoriented by artificial lights. Save energy and help prevent birds from flying towards your house and windows by turning off all unnecessary lights at night. Join a “lights out” campaign like this one to encourage residences and businesses to limit light emissions at night! 

Motion Sensor Lights:

Switching to motion detecting lights is another bird-friendly lighting option. These lights stay off until motion is detected, helping to reduce the amount of light emitted during night hours and minimizing the effects on birds migrating at night. These lights can be purchased at any hardware store, are easily installed, and are a great cost effective option to successfully deter birds from windows or buildings. 

House Plant Placement:

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. 

This hummingbird feeder is placed right next to the window to help prevent a bird from building up enough momentum for a fatal collision.

Bird Feeder Placement:

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.

Naturescaping Yards:

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. 

Check out these resources to learn more about window strikes and other ways you can help prevent collisions:

Birds Flying Into Windows? Truths About Birds & Glass Collisions from ABC Experts

Preventing Bird Collisions at Home

Preventing Bird-Window Collisions

Effects of Window Angling, Feeder Placement, and Scavengers on Avian Mortality at Plate Glass