Birding tips

Bird-Window Collisions: How To Prevent Them And Keep Birds Safe

Bird-window collisions are a tragic problem affecting upwards of a billion birds yearly in urban and suburban areas. The incredible impact of flying into a window can result in death or serious injuries for the bird. As a homeowner, there are several ways that you can make your windows collision safe, thus protecting the birds flying around your neighborhood.

There are several ways to prevent bird-window collisions and keep passing birds safe, including solutions like window films, decals, and mesh or netting. Several DIY alternatives include window markers, hanging objects, and external deterrents such as moving bird feeders away from your windows.

To better understand why bird-window collisions occur and how to prevent them, you must delve into the reasons behind these collisions, explore the common bird species most vulnerable to such accidents, and discuss effective preventative solutions and DIY alternatives to keep passing birds safe. Knowing what you can do if you come across a bird after a window collision is also a good idea.

Understanding Why Birds Fly into Windows

Why do birds fly into windows? Many ask the question: can birds see glass? The consensus is that birds do not see glass like humans do. This different view means they do not perceive it as a solid barrier. The transparency or reflections of trees, sky, or vegetation on the window’s surface can confuse birds and make them believe they can fly through to the other side.

Additionally, when birds migrate or defend their territory during certain periods of the year, they become more territorial. During this time, some birds are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviors, such as flying into windows to protect their territory or challenge their own reflection.

What Are The Best Options to Prevent Birds Flying into Windows

Suppose you are wondering how to stop birds from flying into windows. Well, you should be happy to learn that there are several effective options available to mitigate the risk of bird-window collisions, including the following:

  • Window films: Applying window films to your windows can help break up the reflection and make the glass more visible to birds. These films can be transparent or decorative and are accessible in most home improvement stores.
  • Decals and stickers: Bird window decals, stickers, or tapes that reflect ultraviolet light can be affixed to windows to make them more visible to birds. They serve as visual cues, signaling that there is an obstacle in their flight path.
  • Netting and screens: Installing fine-mesh netting or screens on the outside of your windows can act as a physical barrier, preventing birds from colliding with the glass while still allowing light and air to pass through.

DIY Solutions For Preventing Bird-Window Collisions

If you prefer a hands-on approach, here are some DIY alternatives for preventing bird-window collisions:

  • Window markers: Use non-toxic window markers or tempera paints to create patterns or designs on the outside of your windows. These can help break up reflections and make the glass more visible to birds.
  • Hanging objects: Hang objects like wind chimes, beaded curtains, or streamers near windows to create movement and alert birds to the presence of the window.
  • External deterrents: You should also ensure that your bird feeders, bird baths, or potted plants are at least 15 feet away from your windows or within three feet to ensure the birds are not attracted to the glass. By redirecting their attention, you can reduce the chances of collisions.
  • Blinds and Curtains: Keep blinds or curtains partially closed, especially during daylight hours when birds are most active. This simple action can reduce the window’s transparency and helps birds recognize it as a solid barrier.
  • Eliminate exterior lighting: Bright exterior lights at night can disorient birds and often cause them to collide with windows. Consider reducing or eliminating outdoor lighting, especially during migration seasons.
  • Dirty windows: Contrary to popular belief, having slightly dirty windows can help prevent bird-window collisions. A light layer of dirt or dust can break up reflections and make the glass more visible to birds.

Common Bird Species Most Vulnerable To Window Collisions

While any bird can potentially collide with a window, certain species are more prone to these accidents than others. Some common bird species that are particularly vulnerable include:

  • Songbirds: Species like sparrows, finches, and warblers are highly susceptible to window collisions due to their small size and agile flight patterns.
  • Hummingbirds: These tiny birds, known for their remarkable flight skills, are at significant risk of colliding with windows, often mistaking them for open spaces or flowers.
  • Woodpeckers: With their habit of drumming on trees, woodpeckers can be attracted to their own reflection in windows and inadvertently fly into them.
  • Raptors: Birds of prey, for example, owls and hawks, may collide with windows while chasing prey or defending their territory.

What You Should Do If A Bird Collides With A Window

You hear a loud thump, the telltale sound of a bird flying into window scenario. You run outside and find a bird that has just collided with your window. What you do after this can be the deciding factor as to whether the bird survives. If you discover a bird that has collided with a window, here are some steps you can take to help:

  • Assess the bird’s condition: Approach the bird carefully, and if it is conscious, gently examine it for any visible injuries. Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator for guidance if it is severely injured or unconscious.
  • Provide a safe environment: If the bird appears dazed but not seriously injured, carefully place it in a well-ventilated, covered box or cage away from predators and stressors. Keep the area quiet and dimly lit to reduce stress on the bird.
  • Monitor and observe: Keep an eye on the bird from a distance to see if it starts to recover. If it regains strength and appears alert, you can release it in a safe outdoor area away from windows.
  • Seek professional help: If the bird’s condition seems to worsen or shows signs of serious injury, contact a local wildlife rehabilitator or avian veterinarian for professional assistance.


Bird-window collisions are a tragic consequence of our built environment. Still, by understanding the science behind these accidents and taking proactive measures, we can significantly reduce the number of bird fatalities.

Whether using window films, decals, netting, or DIY solutions like window markers and hanging objects, we can make our windows safer for birds. Together, we can create a world where birds and windows coexist harmoniously, ensuring the safety and well-being of our avian friends.