Preventing Window Strikes!

March 24, 2010

Windows, particularly large picture windows and patio doors, can pose an unintentional deadly threat to songbirds. Window strikes (as they are commonly called) happen when a bird flies directly into a pane of glass in your window.  The reason is that birds can’t see the glass.  Instead they see a reflection of the surrounding area, including trees and sky and perceive this as open fly space.

These accidents often cause injuries and sometimes death. Here are a few successful solutions you should try to help reduce bird strikes around your home.  After you read these tried-and-true tips, please be sure to share this information with your neighbors, friends and family.

There are lots of ways you can help to prevent your birds from flying into windows around your home. One of the simplest solutions, believe it or not, is to leave your windows dirty! Birds fly into windows because they see a reflection and think the reflection is an actual object such as a tree or bird feeder. By leaving your windows dirty, you reduce reflections–and you have a great excuse for not cleaning your windows!  It is also helpful to position bird feeders, houses and baths so that they are not reflected in large windows. But, dirty windows are not an option for most homeowners.  Thankfully there are other solutions!

Duncraft offers many convenient, inexpensive window decals in a variety of shapes including leaves, butterflies, hummingbirds and predatory birds. By sticking these transparent clings to your window, birds will most certainly avoid the area. The shape of a predatory bird might be intimidating to song birds, but most people agree it’s not the shape that keeps the birds away, but that the decal breaks up the reflection. And you should note that window decals work best when you use more than one. Space the decals about every three square feet on your window. You can also involve your children or grandchildren in this effort to protect our feathered friends. Simply trace the silhouette of a bird on black construction paper, cut out the shape and tape it to your windows.

Also take a look at the Warning Web. This natural looking web mimics sticky spider webs which birds instinctively avoid. This realistic static cling decal makes glass visible to birds—and helps break up window reflections. Use two or more Warning Webs on large windows.  And then there’s the Feather Guard –an interesting combination of bright colors, loose feathers and motion. Birds have an inherent aversion to loose feathers—a danger signal that another bird has been killed by a predator. And the motion of the feathers blowing in the wind will also repel birds. Each Feather Guard string installs in seconds with two suction cups and works on any window. Be sure to hang it with plenty of slack so the feathers can move easily with even a slight breeze.  One guard will protect 3 ft. of glass area.

Another easy fix is to place a screen over the window. Although there may still be a reflection on the glass, it is not as easy to see the reflection through the screen, and therefore it is not as tempting. Netting, such as the kind used to protect berry plants, can also be stretched across your windows for a similar effect. Another idea is to tack up shade cloth–a plastic mesh that can be purchased at garden or hardware stores. Shade cloth reduces window reflections, but you can still see out the window.

Another suggestion we give to our customers concerns the placement of feeders. If birds are crashing into your windows after visiting your feeders you should either move your feeders far away from your house or closer to the house.  Over 25 feet and under 4 feet seem to work.  The further away, the less birds will encounter a window if startled off the feeder.  The closer to the window, birds don’t reach top flight speed and are in less danger of a fatal impact if they do strike the window. Or you can set up window feeders. Window feeders break up reflections and birds safely land to eat, and then fly away in the opposite direction of the window. Window feeders have grown in popularity over the years because they offer a rare opportunity to enjoy colorful bird activity up close. And today backyard birding enthusiasts have lots of choices when purchasing a window style feeder including a wide variety of prices, styles and sizes.

Lastly, scarecrows work for cornfields, so why not for your windows? By running string from corner to corner diagonally across your windows and tying surveyor’s tape or gift ribbon to the string, you can create a similar effect. The pieces of tape fluttering in the wind will deter birds from flying too closely.  While this is not the most attractive solution, it is effective and inexpensive so worth a mention.

We hope we have provided you with lots of options for dealing with this important topic of window strikes. We encourage you all to spread the word and share this information so we can all be aware of this serious problem and how homeowners can easily prevent it.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Gay Sherlock April 1, 2010 at 12:09 pm

Do we affix the images to the inside or the outside of our windows? I have always wondered about this…..sometimes I put them on the outside and other times on the inside. Please advise if it matters. Thanks.

Lynda April 1, 2010 at 2:00 pm

The decals need to be placed on the outside surface of the window. If you place them inside the window, they’re lost in the reflection– the same way that having curtains on a window won’t prevent strikes, because the birds can’t see past the reflection. Complete instructions are included in the decal packages.

Roger April 2, 2010 at 4:42 am

We have tried for years to cut down on the bird strikes. Nothing seems to help. We have the window decals but maybe we need to have more of them.

joyce April 2, 2010 at 9:22 am

we have this male cardinal that keeps striking at our laundry room window, back door and kitchen window. we have tried everything from painting the windows with soap scum, newspaper, used dried sheets and the window decals and robin alert decal.
since applying the decals we have notiiced a decrease in the number of strikes. but he still is flying at the window. i think he just needs a girlfriend. the other males in the neighborhood have one but he doesn’t. no wonder–if i were a female cardinal i wouldn’t want a mate that flys at windows all day long. thanks for the tips and help. joyce

Paulette Hebert April 2, 2010 at 1:17 pm

This was a great artical, about bird strikes!
I have had a few, only one died, it broke my heart!!!!
The reason I clean my windows & take off the screens is so I can get clear pictures of them.
which I have gotten some real cool & amazing photo’s. so good i want to enter them in some contest, but haven’t yet!
So what kind of tip can you give me, who likes to get close & admire such great little bird’s especially Hummingbirds!
where would I place my decals, I also can zoom into a tree near by, so I need lots of window space! It is a Bay window!
thanks again I love all your articals,

R. Brune April 2, 2010 at 2:02 pm

One way to prevent bird strikes on windows is to put window feeders on them. The birds slow down to land on the feeders, and also the fact that something is there may help break up reflections. Anything you use to break up reflections in a window always needs to be on the outside of the window. Also make sure your feeders are close or far away from windows. More than 10 feet gives them a chance to swerve away. Feeders placed even farther away are better. If feeders are closer, birds will not be flying at full speed as they approach the window–3 – 4 feet from a window is good. Try to inspect your windows and see if it’s likely that a bird may percieve the window as open fly space and try to use one of the solutions listed in the article. Birds pecking on windows is a different thing. That’s territorial behavior that usually stops once the bird is mated and settled down for the summer.

Paulette Hebert April 2, 2010 at 11:24 pm

thanks that exactly what i did, ck out the windows, think I’am going to try the feather thing on the window, that way they can feed in the feeders, rather then my windowsill,
have a blessed Easter

Rob April 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm

If a bird does strike your window, put it in a brown paper bag until it starts bouncing around and seems active. By doing this, you are protecting the injured bird from predators, giving it a calm place to “wake up” and you can let it out AWAY from any windows.

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