Watching birds smash into your windows can be upsetting. While it seems strange that these intelligent creatures fly into windows at all, there is a logical explanation for this behavior.
A home’s windows often mirror from the outside what’s in the yard. Birds may not see the glass or inside your house when you look out the window for this reason. Instead, they recognize the reflection of the trees in your garden, which looks like the real thing to them. When birds bump into your windows, they are likely trying to land among those “trees,” and this mixing regularly fatally injures birds.
Fortunately, you can protect your feathered friends by making windows more bird-friendly. These cheap and easy fixes go a long way to keeping birds from flying into your windows.
Related: What to do if a bird flies into your house
1. Window decals
Window stickers decals can help birds realize that your glass is a hard surface to avoid. In order to effectively prevent birds from bumping into the window stickers, put them very close to each other. Leave about 2 inches between each label, otherwise birds may try to fly into the “open” spaces between the labels. WindowAlert window stickers, which come in a variety of simple, nature-inspired designs, use a UV reflective material that signals to birds that the window isn’t open to fly through.
Related: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Window Films
2. A bar of soap
Another way to visually distinguish your windows to birds can be achieved with a daily bar of soap. Draw patterns on your window with a dry bar of soap, being careful not to leave any gaps between the lines more than 2 inches wide. As with window stickers, birds will see soap residue on the glass surface, which reduces the possibility of air accidents. Just be sure to reapply the soap patterns after it rains or after cleaning windows.
Related: How to clean windows
3. Bird repellent tablets
Reflective discs hung around windows are an effective and humane deterrent to birds. These bird repellent tablets, a favorite in our guide to the best bird deterrents, are designed to be hung along window tops or awnings in your home. Because the discs rotate naturally, they reflect sunlight to discourage birds from flying into your windows or getting too close to your home. If you have bird feeders in your yard, double-check that they are not too close to reflective discs or other bird deterrents.
Another option to prevent birds is to add a net around problem windows. The net can serve as a visual and physical boundary to prevent birds from crashing into your windows. Make sure the net is hanging a few inches from the window and is taut, so that any birds that fly into the window bounce back. The taut net should prevent birds from getting tangled up in the material. Jumping off the net is less painful and dangerous for birds than hitting a window.
Related: Is a bird trapped in your chimney? Here’s what to do
5. Error screens
Installing error screens on windows should work the same as networking. Incoming birds will hit the screen first, which will prevent or drastically reduce any effects on the windows. However, for error screens to be most effective, the entire window must span – not just the lower half of the window, as is often the case with embedded screens.
Related: Deadly bird flu is spreading — what does this mean for your backyard flock?
6. Bird Bar
Bird Tape is a humane deterrent with a unique reflective finish. Placing them on your windows, with no greater than 2 inch gaps between the strips, should strongly discourage birds from flying in. Bird tape is non-toxic and will not cause any harm to the birds in your garden. If you don’t have bird tape, you can also use graph tape to achieve the same goal.
7. External window shutters
If you have outside window shutters, keep them closed as much as possible to avoid bird accidents completely. Closing the shutters eliminates much (if not all) of the exterior glass surface area, preventing birds from getting confused by the reflections. Shutting your home windows also has the added benefit of reducing energy consumption on hot days, because your home will not heat up as much when the sun is facing your windows.
8. Bird feeding and pigeon location
Whether you feed birds in winter or summer, the placement of bird feeders and bird baths can affect the likelihood of them hitting windows. Bird feeders should be within 3 feet or less of your home, or at least 30 feet away. From a distance of only 3 feet, their speed (and injuries) should be as minimal as birds can take off from your windows. When you’re 30 feet or more from home, birds may be able to see windows for what they are: a part of your home.
Related: Buyer’s Guide: The Best Squirrel Bird Feeders
9. Window Awnings
Awnings help reduce window reflections, making it less likely that birds will fly into the “trees” in the windows. Some awnings have been repaired, others are motorized to be pulled and operated via remote control, and retractable awnings can still be operated without a remote control using a hand crank. No matter which type you choose, installing a canopy over windows or glass doors can make all the difference to the birds around your home.
Related: Buyer’s Guide: Best Sail Shades
10. Window treatment
It may seem counterintuitive, but covering windows from the inside helps reduce window reflections that birds see from outside. If you have blinds or window blinds, try to keep them closed when you don’t need ambient light in the room. Vertical blinds should be left closed at least halfway to prevent birds from seeing the reflections of trees in the window.
11. Turn off the lights at night
If you leave your blinds or blinds open at night, consider turning off unnecessary lights inside your home. Windows can be more reflective at night than during the day, and artificial light from inside a window can confuse birds. If a bird gets disoriented as it flies around your house after sunset, it may end up flying in your windows.