Windows and Birds: A Deadly Combination

It is estimated that around 100 million birds are killed each year by collisions with windows. Some birds are only stunned and recover shortly after the collision; however, window hits often lead to severe internal injuries and death. Just this morning, I found a beautiful juvenile male red-winged blackbird that most likely died due to a window strike.

It is thought that birds hit windows because they see trees, sky and clouds reflected on the glass which confuses the bird into thinking they are flying into open space. In addition, birds that are fleeing from a predator are more likely to fly into windows.

How to Help a Window Collision Victim

Fortunately, not all collisions are fatal. If you find a bird that is dazed from a window strike, you should take the following steps, as recommended by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology:

  • Place it in a dark container with a lid such as a shoe-box and leave it somewhere warm and quiet, out of reach of pets and other predators.
  • If the weather is extremely cold, you may need to take it inside. Do not try to give it food and water and resist handling it as much as possible.
  • The darkness will calm the bird while it revives, which should occur within a few minutes, unless it is seriously injured.
  • Release it outside as soon as it appears awake and alert.
  • If the bird doesn’t recover in a couple of hours, you should take it to a veterinarian or wildlife rehabilitator.

How to Protect Birds from Window Collisions

If you feed wild birds in your backyard, you should be aware of and try to prevent window strikes. Identify which window is the problem. You can do this by going outside near your bird feeders and look at your windows from a birds point of view. If you can see the reflections of trees and sky in the window, the birds can too. While there are many ways of making windows safer for birds, we recommend WindowAlert UV Decals.

Birds have sharper vision than humans and are able to see certain light frequencies that humans cannot see, such as ultraviolet. In fact, many songbirds have feathers that reflect UV light to help communicate species, gender, and perhaps even social standing. Birds can see UV under normal daylight conditions, while humans require a black light. Since birds can see UV light, the use of WindowAlert UV Decals and Liquid will substantially lower the amount of birds hitting your window. The WindowAlert UV Decals appear as frosted or etched glass to the human eye but birds see it as a brilliant glow like a stoplight. are small clings that are placed on the outside of your clean window. Birds see the decal and know that is not a clear direction of flight.

We stock a few different designs including butterflies, leaves, hummingbirds, and snowflakes. Each packet contains about 4 decals that should be replaced every 6-9 months. They retail for $6.95 each.

For more information, visit WindowAlert and/or The Cornell Lab of Ornithology.