Tue 15 Sep 2009
Most of us have probably had that awful experience of a bird crashing into one of our windows. You hear that “bam” and look down and see the bird sprawled out on the ground. Sometimes after a few minutes they make a recovery and are able to fly off but many times, they die on the spot.
It’s sad when this happens but there are some things we can do to help limit it.
The first is to take a walk outside your house and look at your windows from a bird’s perspective. They fly into the windows because the windows are reflecting the sky and it looks to them as though they can fly right through. If you’ve had window strikes in the past, first take a look at these windows and get a feel for what the birds are seeing, but check all your windows. The windows with the most strikes are likely to be those that get the most reflection and are far enough away from trees that the birds can get up a good speed to head off into what they see as sky.
Another thing to look at is your placement of bird feeders. Bird feeders draw birds in and this of course is great fun for us to watch but their placement can also be a detriment. Birds fly in to get some seed and then quickly take off to go eat the seeds or seek safety and may look to your window and a place to fly to.
So, the solutions….
For addressing reflection, the best thing that I’ve found is the use of window decals. They come in various shapes (flowers, leaves, birds, other shapes) and you can even get ones that are almost clear to our eyes. The ones I use are said to have a UV reflection in the plastic such that when the birds see them they see these shapes and know that they should not fly through. You can also get solid colored plastic and they will have the same effect but would obstruct your views outside. You need to place these decals about 3 inches apart so that the birds don’t try to fly through them, but they really work.
The next thing you can do is with your feeders. Placing feeders either more than 30 feet away from the house or less than 3 feet away will reduce collisions. At 30ft away, the birds have a better likelihood of recognizing the reflection of the widows as being part of the house (and with the addition of the window decals this will help even more). At less than 3 feet from the house, the birds don’t have a chance to build up enough speed to slam into the window.
Closing shades and drapes can also help a lot. While the window is still reflective, the birds don’t fly to them because they can’t fly through. The down side to this is that closing the drapes or blinds blocks out your view of the outside but if you do it while you are away at work and away on vacation then you’re none the wiser.
Audubon at Home has some other good tips and links to help address bird collisions, including leaving window screens in place year round as they also help reduce reflection too.
What have you tried? Any tips to share?