Make Your Windows Bird Safe
You know the sound. You’re sitting quietly in the house when you hear a sharp “thwack” as something hits the window. You look out, expecting to spot sheepish kids retrieving their baseball from your yard. Instead, no one’s there.
Then you look down. Sigh. On the ground in front of your window lies a little bird, stunned or dying after smacking into your plate glass.
Bird vs. window: It’s a long-standing conflict. About 1 billion times per year—yes, 1 billion—a bird accidentally crashes into the window of a home or office building. It usually doesn’t go well for the bird.
How come this happens so often?
During the day, windows reflect the sky, trees, and greenery nearby. Birds get fooled by the reflection, thinking they’re heading for open space. At night, especially if the weather’s rainy or foggy, migrating birds often get disoriented by illuminated office buildings and miscalculate their flight path. And day or night, a smaller bird being chased by a predator can take a panicky turn that ends in a collision with your home.
Estimates vary on the number of birds who die each year from window strikes, but even the lowest numbers are in the millions. That’s a lot of beautiful, environmentally important creatures to lose unnecessarily.
What can you do?
Fortunately, homeowners have lots of options when it comes to preventing close encounters of the collision kind between birds and windows. Some involve the area around your windows and some involve the windows themselves.
Ironically, of course, we often put feeders, birdbaths, and attractive landscaping near our windows because it’s fun to watch birds and we want to attract them. But ask yourself: Are you seeing regular collision patterns? If “yes,” think about moving items like birdfeeders closer to your windows, not farther away. The reason? It’s hard for birds to generate enough airspeed to hurt themselves if they’ve only flown a couple of feet before striking your window. And you’ll be able to watch your feathered friends even more closely.
Then, there are simple things you can do such as partly closing curtains or lowering shades halfway in unoccupied rooms during the day, or turning off lights at night in spaces where you don’t need them.
Your windows themselves can also become part of the solution with the help of certain products.
- Marking your windows with soap or tempera paint is an easy, inexpensive solution using materials most homeowners already have on hand. Creating a grid or other pattern on your glass will alert birds to the presence of this surface. Because they are relatively easy to wash off, soap and tempera markings are also more temporary.
- Ornilux glazed windows are a proven bird-friendly glazing treatment. ORNILUX is tested in cooperation with American Bird Conservancy. Download the brochure.
- One-way transparent films applied to your window offer a longer-lasting but still removable solution. Such films let you see out while making the glass appear opaque from the outside. Because they slightly reduce the amount of light coming in your windows, these films can also have a cooling effect you might like. Visit https://www.collidescape.org/ to learn more.
- Also, visit the American Bird Conservancy for additional tips and products at https://abcbirds.org/get-involved/bird-smart-glass/
- Window decals—in reflective materials, bright colors, or predator silhouettes—are easily applied to windows. Experts warn these are only effective if placed closely together, though.
- Mylar balloons or strips of Mylar tape can be attached near problematic windows to scare off birds as well as other wildlife and are easily found at local grocery or hardware stores. Another inexpensive solution, you just have to not mind the appearance of fluttering Mylar near your windows.
- Screens and netting installed over your windows can be very effective in breaking a bird’s impact. Mounting the netting into a frame makes for easier installation and removal with the seasons.
- Acopian bird savers are closely spaced thin ropes that hang over windows. Also called “Zen Wind Curtains,” these simple and aesthetically pleasing devices are DIY or can be made to order. Learn more at https://www.birdsavers.com.
In spite of your best efforts, a bird may still smack into your windows this season. If that happens, here’s how to help:
- Cover the bird with a cloth and gently move her to a paper bag or cardboard box lined with paper towels. Don’t punch holes in the container. Do secure the lid or top with a clip or tape. If the bird can’t be moved, cover her where she lies.
- Let the bird rest in a quiet place that’s warm and dark. Don’t touch the bird and don’t try to feed or water her. Avoid checking in on her often, too, which only causes stress.
- After 30 minutes, or if she seems to be recovering, take the bird outside in her box or bag. Open it, step back, and see if she tries to fly. If she doesn’t, take her back inside and try again later.
- If the bird isn’t recovering but is still alive, consider calling a bird rescue facility, such as the Chicago Bird Collision Monitors (CBCM), at (773) 988-1867. Learn more by visiting http://www.birdmonitors.net.
At McCann, we thank you for helping to care for our environment. Give us a call if we can be of help with your concerns regarding your home’s windows, doors, or siding. We’re ready to serve! Visit https://mccannwindow.com or call 847-807-1290.