Summary: Birds and windows. A bad combination. Chances are you've seen a bird fly into a window before. Unfortunately, birds don't stand a chance against clear windows, especially if they're squeaky clean. Birds don't see the glass and may even be drawn towards it if they see reflections of the sky or trees in it or indoor plants sitting on a windowsill.
Birds are more likely to crash into windows at night when indoor lighting misleads them. To help combat this problem, the city of Toronto began encouraging companies to turn off the lights in their offices after hours. This concept was brought about by a group called FLAP, or Fatal Light Awareness Program. FLAP works to prevent deaths and injuries caused from birds crashing into windows and fixtures.
Some types of birds may attack windows, seeing their reflections and viewing the reflection as another bird in competition for territory. Robins, cardinals tend to attack their reflections most often, being highly competitive birds that nest close to buildings. These attacks occur most frequently in early summer which is the breeding season for birds. Though the attacks may cause birds to become fatigued, they rarely cause them to become injured.
Some birds that fly into windows can shake off the accident and fly away, but others may encounter internal bleeding on their brains and die. And just imagine how many birds die from crashing into windows of tall office buildings or skyscrapers.
Tips on Deterring Birds from Flying into Windows
- You can place a bird feeder just outside your window. Make sure that the feeder extends at least twelve inches. Birds will most likely land close to the feeder instead of flying into the glass. Since history repeats itself, birds of many species may fly into one particular window because of the reflections they see. Try installing a feeder by a window that birds crash into most often. A bonus to this setup is that you'll get an awesome view of different types of birds without even stepping foot outside.
- Swarthmore College has installed windows that help keep birds safe. They have small circles close together engraved into the glass. Kind of like spirographs. You can install windows with images etched into them, or you could look into putting in one or two stained-glass windows.
- Shut the blinds on your windows when you are not at home and at night. This will help prevent some accidents.
- Hang a hawk silhouette outside a window. Hawks prey on birds, so their images will keep birds from flying towards your window. The silhouette will work most efficiently if it is made out of wood or aluminum. Also, make sure it hangs loosely and can stir in the wind. If the silhouette moves, birds will think the hawk is flapping its wings and will stay away.
- One German product called Ornilux is effective in deterring birds from windows. Ornilux is glass with ultraviolet coating. The great thing about it is that humans can't tell much of a difference between Ornilux and regular glass, but birds can. They will recognize that a window made of ultraviolet is not clear and be less likely to crash into it.
- If you have songbirds near your home that peck at your windows try spreading bar soap across the windows during breeding season. Though your neighbors may think you're crazy, the soap will blur some of the reflections the windows give off.
- You can also install a net to keep birds from getting close to the windows. Make sure bird netting is at least three inches away from the windows and make sure the holes of the net are no larger than 5/8 of an inch. This will keep birds from getting their beaks stuck in the netting. Although netting is not the most aesthetically desirable solution it may be worth it if a bird is relentlessly attacking the glass. The netting only needs to stay in place until breeding season is over.
Note that cats crawling or laying on windowsills will rarely deter birds because birds fly too high. That is, unless your cat can climb walls like Spiderman.