Disarm Windows and Glass Doors

The Birds > Preventing Injuries > Disarm Windows and Glass Doors

A significant number of the birds we rehabilitate have suffered impact injuries from flying into windows or glass doors. Birds accidently fly into glass because they can mistake reflections for actuality or just don’t perceive the glass as a solid object. The problem is more common with expansive windows and sliding glass doors. Depending on numerous variables (light, weather, surrounding landscape, etc.) a large glass surface of your home can become an invisible wall to birds. If a bird flying into a window or door of your home is a recurring incident, disarm the glass by disrupting its see-through and mirror-like properties. Closing your blinds or drapes may work, but from our experience most times the problem must be solved from the outside.

  • You can place streamers or a decorative wind sock in front of the problem window. The movement will help ward off birds.
  • A few lines of light colored string hung loosely across the window can also be effective.
  • A hawk silhouette, a danger sign to most birds, can be taped onto the glass. Hawk silhouettes are available commercially or can be purchased from The Raptor Trust.
  • Stained-glass ornaments attached by suction cups on the outside surface can be used to break up the reflective and transparent properties of the glass.
  • You can try keeping an interior light on behind the window. Reflections only appear if it is darker behind the glass.

During nesting season some birds, robins and cardinals particularly, will repeatedly attack their own reflected image, thinking it a rival in their territory. This problem will resolve itself with time. As the nesting season progresses the birds will stop this behavior, but you can try any of the above suggestions to keep the bird away from the windows.

If you feed birds, place the feeder away from windows; there will be less opportunity for an accident to occur. Keep a pair of binoculars handy for close-up looks.

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