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.
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.
Shop window strike solutions and window feeders at Duncraft.com. Happy Birding!