Table of Contents
Birds and Windows Solutions
Solutions don’t have to be complicated or expensive… Even the simple act of letting your windows be dirty and dusty can help birds “see” the glass. Humans don’s see glass either, but we use visual cues to tell us there is a solid pane there (although sometimes we miss those cues and walk into glass doors). For new buildings, there is now bird-friendly glass that has UV markings built into it which birds will see as a solid structure, but is invisible to the human eye.
Do a Building Evaluation - whether formal or informal, this will help direct your efforts to save the birds. What makes a building dangerous or safe?
Glass - the number of bird strikes is directly correlated to the amount of glass on a building. The more glass, the more birds will fly into it. How much glass does your building have? Balconies can be deadly even from the inside when the bird gets trapped and does not realize it has to go up to escape.
Effects of Glass - You may have noticed that certain windows or particular times of day are worse than others. Go outside and see what the bird sees (if you can). Does the bird see a reflection at a particular time of day due to sun angle? Can they see through the house to the front (or back) window? Closing a curtain might be the easiest and most effective answer, but not always.
Location - Not just real estate agents look for certain locations, so do birds. Are you in a heavily treed, older neighbourhood, where there is likely to be a tree reflected in your windows? Are you near the river, or in the woods? Concrete deserts in downtown are not fun for birds so there are fewer birds around to fly into the glass. Beautiful yards and parks attract the birds and put them at risk if there is also glass nearby.
Vegetation Height - similar to location, the height of the local vegetation is important. Often the first 3 or 4 stories of a building are the most dangerous because that is the height of the nearby trees and bushes.
Lighting - Nighttime lights can disturb normal sleep patterns for birds and humans alike. Using dark-sky-friendly lights benefits everyone, and reduces confusion for migrating birds who are flying at night.Look at your house with a “birds-eye” view and see what danger looks like from their perspective.
A great temporary solution and fun to do. This is good for renters who cannot put up a more permanent solution. It's also a fun way to get kids involved in saving the birds! Remember it has to be on the OUTSIDE of the window to be most effective.
Streamers, such as these at the Saskatoon Airport are a short-term solution. The drawback is that without wind, they don't move, and are less effective. But anything is better than nothing to make our glass "visible" to birds.
Get Creative with String!! It's a wonder what can be done with small tacks and a ball of leftover yarn or string!
We do NOT recommend decals…. especially if they are on the INSIDE like she is doing. Birds are used to flying through a dense forest, and are quite nimble at flying AROUND objects. The decals have to be so close together that they block the view for the humans as well as the birds….
Curtains and Blinds
Keep interior blinds and shutters closed. This helps minimize reflections and angled appropriately, these can still provide plenty of light and a modified view. This is particularly effective at blocking the “tunnel effect”, when there are windows at both ends and the birds think they can pass through to the other side of the house through the tunnel….
Move houseplants away from windows. Birds will not consider plants and flowers to be shelter or food when they are placed where they cannot be seen from outside.
Feather Friendly dots are incredibly effective at nearly eliminating bird strikes. They are easy to install, are invisible from inside, looking out, and work forever as they do not rely on UV reflectivity (which wears out after a few years).
Bird Tape is a more permanent solution. It is UV reflective for the birds and invisible for the humans. Created by the American Bird conservancy, it is very effective at stopping bird strikes for years. Make sure to set it at 4 inches apart vertically, or 2 inches apart horizontally. Or get creative and create a diagonal criss-cross design. Remember it has to be on the OUTSIDE of the window to be effective.
Close Range Feeders
Other suggestions are to put your bird feeders CLOSE enough to the windows, that if the birds flush from a predator, they do not have enough momentum to be injured if they fly into the window in their panic.
Or put them far enough away that the birds are less likely to fly into the window:
(placement at least 35 feet away is recommended).
The old-fashioned screens that we used to have on our windows are very effective as the birds see the screen rather than the window. If they do happen to fly into it, they bounce off the mesh, uninjured.