Birds hitting windows can be a shocking and upsetting experience for a bird lover. You may also be left wondering why it has happened. We can spot transparent glass quite easily with the naked eye, but it seems like birds cant. In this article, I look at why birds fly into windows.
Birds fly into windows as they believe they are flying into open space. Because glass is reflective, the bird will see the reflections of tall trees and bushes in your garden that look like they are being ahead of them. The bird may also be viewing a reflection of the sky while flying.
Below, you will learn why birds engage in this behaviour, discover tips to avoid it, and find out what to do with birds that fly into windows and become injured.
Modern buildings house a plethora of reflective glass, with windows, patio doors, and extensions supplying great vantage spots to view birds and wildlife around us. Unfortunately, all these reflective surfaces can result in injuries to birds confused by them.
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How common is it?
You may be surprised to learn that birds hitting windows isn’t a rare occurrence. It is estimated that between 100 million to a billion birds die in the US alone from these accidents each year.
But no matter how common it is, as bird lovers, we want to ensure these situations occur as little as possible.
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Why do birds fly into windows?
The first thing to know is birds are not doing this intentionally. They will usually be under the impression that they are simply flying into some greenery or the open sky.
Birds think they are flying into more open space. Transparent window glass isn’t just invisible from a bird’s eye view. The reflective nature of glass means that tall trees and bushes in your garden are presented to the bird as being ahead of them as they fly towards the window. The bird may also be viewing a reflection of the sky. Either way, they have no notion they are about to collide with a flat surface.
They may think they’re attacking another bird.
Birds may also see their reflections in the window “another bird” flying towards them; they may attack it, or more precisely, attack your window. These collisions are less likely to be fatal but can be disturbing.
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Why do Birds Fly into Windows at Night?
At night birds will be attracted to your windows for a different reason. They will be lured towards the light of your home and veer from their course. To avoid birds flying into your windows at night, you should make sure to turn off all unnecessary lighting.
What Happens When Birds Collide with Windows?
Sadly, many birds are injured or die after colliding with a window. When they view a reflected sky or landscape, they will see no reason to slow down or change direction. So, it is common for birds to fly full speed into windows.
Sometimes, the bird is stunned by the impact and will fly away after a few moments. Sadly, many of these animals will have sustained internal bleeding on impact and pass away later.
If a bird has collided with your window and been injured, you can find some advice on caring for them lower in this article.
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How to Stop Birds Flying into your Windows
As discussed, the main reason that birds collide with window glass is because they believe they are flying into the image reflected at them So, to make sure this does not happen when they see your windows, you should add identifiable markers to let birds know they are heading towards a flat surface.
Your first action should be to walk around your house and check what each window reflects. Try to look at each pane as a bird may view it. Are the tall, inviting trees in your garden reflected? How about the sky?
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Add patterns to your windows.
You can add a variety of marks and patterns to your window to help birds identify them. If you find small birds are the main problem, you should space these markers at gaps of 2 inches horizontally and 4 inches vertically to ensure these species can spot them.
• Mark A Grid with a Bar of Soap. You can use soap to mark a grid pattern across the glass for a quick fix. You will be able to wash the grid off with little problem if you need to.
• Paint a pattern. Use washable paint to design a more attractive pattern or even a picture on your window!
• Add stickers, tapes and decals. If you have a pile of ribbons, coloured tape and stickers, you can put them to good use. Be sure to place them at a suitable distance from each other so birds can spot them.
• Purchase Netting, Screens or a Zen Curtain. It would help if you placed these hangings outside of your window (so they cover the reflection). These will ensure that the birds are aware of what they are heading towards.
• Invest in opaque window film. You can buy a sticky film to place over your window, which is transparent from the inside but appears opaque outside, reducing reflections.
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How to help an injured bird.
If you discover an injured bird who has collided with your windows and hasn’t
flown away, you should follow these steps:
- Give it time to fly away. The bird may be dazed and require a few moments before flying away. If there are no external signs of injury such as blood or damaged wings, and if it is capable of standing or perching, you should step away a while and leave it to recover.
- Contact a wildlife emergency agency when the bird is noticeably injured or can’t fly away.
- In the meantime, place the bird in a safe, dark container where it can calm down. Leave the bird somewhere without any noise or risk of disruption from pets or small children.
- Do not handle the bird more than you need to. Do not try to feed it or give it any water.
- Every 15 minutes, take the container outside and lift the lid. The bird may have recovered and now want to fly. Don’t try to encourage it; see if it will fly out alone.
- If the bird doesn’t recover, you should hand it over to a wildlife emergency agency. Do not try to rehabilitate the bird or repair any injuries by yourself.
I hope you have found this article helpful and now have a good idea about why birds fly into windows. You should now feel more confident about stopping birds flying into windows and the steps you should take if this happens.