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How to Stop Birds From Flying Into Windows (10 Tips That Work)

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bird in the window

The sound of birds bumping into a window is quite disturbing. But what’s more disappointing is going outside and finding a beautiful bird lying motionless on the ground below the window. Everyone wishes they could stop birds from going through this experience. Yes, it is possible.

The first thing to do is to understand why birds fly into windows: they see the reflection of trees or the sky when they look at the window rather than pane glass. They usually think they are following a clear path. This can cause loss of life.

This article will delve deeper into the reasons birds bump into windows and how to stop them from doing so. Keep reading.

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Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows

Birds can collide with windows during the day or at night. During the day, they bump into windows because they can see reflections of trees. They can also see potted plants and vegetation through the glass on the other side.

Nocturnal migrants (including songbirds) crash at night because they fly into windows that have lights. Some of these collisions happen accidentally. For some unknown reasons, nocturnal migrants divert from their original path once they see lights, especially when the ceiling is low or in the presence of fog. They pound around the lighted area and sometimes collide with each other or the lighted structure.

You can learn more about this problem from Toronto, Canada’s Fatal Light Awareness Program.

Can birds see glass? Birds do not actually see the glass. What they see is their reflection. Another reason why birds fly into windows is that when they see their reflection, they attack it, assuming it is another bird altogether. This usually happens in the spring when topography is high. This can be vexing to the homeowner, but it is a threat to the bird’s survival once in a while.

hummingbird flying isolated from background
Photo Credit: Veronika Andrews, Pixabay

The 10 Tips to Stop Birds From Flying Into Windows

The solutions suggested below will help birds stop attacking their reflection or flying into windows.

1. Apply Strips of Tape On the Outside Surface of the Windows

White tape can endure both rain and wind. Put the tape four inches apart perpendicular to your windows. This signals to the birds the presence of glass to prevent a collision.

Black tapes can also be used, and space the strips one inch apart.

There is also a special tape available at pet stores to prevent birds from flying into windows.

2. Put Bird Decals On the Outside Area of  Window Glass

When you put decals on the window, birds see a solid surface instead of something to fly through. They are a faster and easier way to bird-proof windows. Put the decals close to each other, about one hand apart. Cover the windows with a pattern of decals because one or two of them cannot prevent birds from flying into them.

Pick decals colored in the ultraviolet spectrum since they are visible to birds and invisible to humans.

Bird decals can be found at pet stores or bird-feeding stores. They can also be found in bird silhouettes like robin or hawk silhouettes.

woman sticking bird decals in the window
Photo Credit: JDzacovsky, Shutterstock

3. Put In Window Paint or Soap To the Outside of the Windows

This is another way to prevent birds from flying into windows. Apply a layer of soap on the outside of the windows to create a film visible to birds. Note that you may have to apply the soap several times to maintain the film.

You can also put window paint or tempera paints on the windows. Create bold and bright patterns, ensuring to cover most parts of the windowpane so that there are no transparent areas for birds to fly into.

4. Put a Film Outside of Your Windows

You can find window films that are opaque on the outside and transparent on the inside. Most window films should allow light inside while appearing opaque and reflective to birds.

Some films are designed with patterns such as blocks or stripes to discourage birds from flying into windows. You can create a fascinating look for windows using patterned films while still shielding them.

5. Add Window Screens or a Net

There are several bird nets and screens available that can be used to prevent birds from flying into windows. When buying bird screens, look for the ones with dark mesh that can be hung over the windows. To cover your windows well, you can customize the mesh.

You can also use a net and hang it two inches from the windows. Buy one that is lightweight, polypropylene, and durable.

man installing window screen
Photo Credit: Radovan1, Shutterstock

6. Install Sun Shades or Exterior Shutters

Consider installing exterior shutters on windows if you do not already have them. When you are out for the day, you can close the shutters. Exteriors shutters are also used to conserve energy and keep your house warm. You do not need to turn on your heat.

You can also consider installing sun awnings or sunshades. They block reflection from sunlight, creating shade over the windows. This way, birds will easily spot glass and avoid flying into it.

7. Use Ultraviolet and Patterned Glass Instead

This is a permanent solution. This type of glass has mixed patterns that humans cannot notice but are visible to birds when they are outside. This might be an expensive option, but it is the most permanent one.

Patterned and ultraviolet glass windows can be found in furniture stores, specialty homes, or online. If you have any plans to install them in your home, you should purchase slightly tilted windows. The windows should be placed in a way that they are slightly vertical and facing downward. This allows the window surface to reflect the ground and not trees and the sky. This way, birds will be deterred from hitting the glass without blocking the view.

patterned window glass
Image Credit: BCTumSS-Shutterstock

8. Move Indoor Plants Away From the Windows

If your home has many houseplants near the window, birds may want to perch on and take refuge in the plants as a result of hitting the windows. Consider moving them a few feet away from the windows.

9. Keep Curtains Closed As Often As Possible

If you keep your curtains and blinds closed during the day, it will be impossible for birds to fly into the windows. If you are using vertical blinds in your home, consider keeping them completely or halfway closed during the day. 

10. Consider Turning Off Your Lights When They Are Not In Use

If you are not using some lights at night, keep them off to prevent birds from being attracted to your windows and home.

hand holding light switch
Image Credit: Alexey Rotanov, Shutterstock

hummingbird divider What To Do When a Bird Hits a Window

Check if the bird is alive or injured. When the bird is lying motionless on the ground, it may be unconscious, injured, or dead. The first thing to check is for obvious injuries like breakages and cuts. If you think they have a broken leg, wing, or other parts, contact the local wildlife hospital.

If the bird is not injured, yet it’s not moving, then it may be stunned or dead.

Check whether its beak is open or any sign of breathing to know if the bird is stunned or dead. You can also feel their heartbeat by putting two fingers across the chest. But even if you can’t sense its heartbeat or breathing, do not assume it’s dead. Breathing can be slow when a bird is stunned.

Stunned birds are concussed or knocked out. They need time to recover safely. If you think the bird is stunned, put it in a dark and warm box with some padding. They can take up to 3 hours to recover. You can also call a wildlife hospital to seek their advice.

hummingbird divider Frequently Asked Questions

Can a bird break a window?

Windows can be broken by larger birds such as ducks, geese, crows, cranes, and herons. When a small hummingbird hits a window, it does not cause much damage to the glass, but the window can cause serious injury or kill the bird.

Can a bird see glass? Birds often collide with glass windows because they do not see them. They only see reflected trees, sky, etc., that appear to be a pathway.

Can a bird die from the impact of hitting a window?

Given the speed birds are often flying at, most of them do not survive when they hit a window. The exact number of birds that die from collisions every year is unclear. The British Trust for Ornithology estimated almost 100 million birds collisions in the UK annually. Around a third of them die from the impact. Spring is considered the worst for collisions because of migratory behaviors. Tall buildings are the worst offenders compared to two-story buildings.

Can you save a bird that hits a window?

People usually find birds stunned after flying into windows. Birds may seem okay but die hours later from internal injuries. It is crucial to evaluate their condition.

If the bird is about to be attacked by cats, dogs, or any other predators, wear gloves to place it in a safer place.

Wait for several hours to see if a stunned bird will recover by itself. If it does not revive, proceed with rescue measures.

The rescue measures include placing the bird in a small box that is ventilated and lined with paper towels or tissue, keeping the box warm, and putting the box away from noise until you take medical action.

Call the local wildlife rehabilitation center to advise you over the phone about the best way to take care of birds until they take over. You can find their contacts online or from the Department of Natural Resources.

baby bird drinking water through dropper
Image Credit: Maslov Dmitry, Shutterstock

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In Conclusion

In the past few centuries, birds flying into windows has become a major issue because of the expansion of towns and cities with tall skyscrapers and buildings. It can be a nuisance if the bird repeatedly collides into your window. Embrace the measures above, especially if you reside in a tall building, and your problem will be solved.

Featured Image Credit: analogicus, Pixabay

About the Author Robert Sparks

Robert’s obsession with all things optical started early in life, when his optician father would bring home prototypes for Robert to play with. Nowadays, Robert is dedicated to helping others find the right optics for their needs. His hobbies include astronomy, astrophysics, and model building. Originally from Newark, NJ, he resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the nighttime skies are filled with glittering stars.