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How to Keep Birds From Hitting Windows

Paper birds being applied to a window

Did you know that as many as one billion birds die in the US every year due to collisions with glass? And research shows that 54-76 percent of bird-window collisions are fatal. In fact, they’re one of the top three leading causes of untimely bird deaths, along with habitat destruction and cats.

Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows?

So, why do birds fly into windows? Birds see more trees and open air in the reflection, so they see a continuation of their space or they see a competitor and go in for the confrontation. If the bird is big enough, say, like a hawk, the strike can even break the window. If you want to help save our fine, feathered friends – and your windows! – obscuring the glass is key.

The easiest way to do this is using dish soap, but you can take different steps with varying degrees of complexity and cost to discourage birds from flying into your windows.

Ways to Prevent Birds From Hitting Windows

Construction Paper Birds

Paper birds made with dark construction paper and taped to your windows will discourage birds from flying into them. Taping images of larger birds, like hawks, to a window will decrease the likelihood of smaller birds flying into windows.

To add construction paper birds to your window:

  1. Draw the outline of a large bird on a piece of dark construction paper. The outline does not need to be detailed – the general shape will work.
  2. Repeat two – three times.
  3. Cut out construction paper birds with scissors and attach to the window using double-stick tape. 

Decals and Window Film

Glass decals and window film can help break up reflections and are a simple way to prevent bird strikes. Usually a pattern is suggested for placing these items on a window, such as spaced dots or stripes.

  • Decals. About 4-10 inches apart, place bird tape or one of a few different types of glass decals, such as etched-glass or decorative decals or adhesive dots, to break up reflections. Many of these products are available commercially or make simple DIYs.
  • Film. Apply a window film on the outside of the window to reduce reflection. These films are available commercially and install easily, like wallpaper. They not only reduce reflection and help save birds and windows, but also help make windows more energy efficient.

Manufactured Glass

Commercially produced glass treatments can also help protect birds from hitting windows:

  • UV patterned glass.  This glazing treatment makes glass visible to birds by adding a UV pattern that they can detect, as they can see in the UV spectrum. Because humans can’t see in the UV spectrum, this option maintains the transparency of the windows for us humans. This treatment also helps with energy efficiency.
  • Acid-etched glass. This etching technique uses chemicals to either etch patterns in the glass or obscure it fully to a bird-friendly opacity. With this option, visibility for humans is obscured, but translucency is maintained. This option is more durable than film and won’t scratch off like coatings.


Other Ways to Prevent Birds From Hitting Windows 

Naturescaping.  Use naturescaping to encourage birds to stay away from windows. Tips include:

  • Placing feeders and baths either more than 30 feet from or within three feet of windows.
  • Moving houseplants away from windows where strikes are a problem.
  • Planting trees or bushes near windows to help break up reflections, discouraging birds from flying into windows.

Create stripes:

  • Use 1/8" vertical window-safe white tape on the outside of the window, four inches apart to break up reflections.
  • Paint pens and paint stencils can be used in the same way.

Netting and screens.  Netting and screens can be used to break up window reflections and serve as a physical barrier, preventing birds from physically hitting windows.

  • Cover windows with thin netting, bird screens or other bird-safe products.
  • Use roll-down screens to reduce reflection.

Lighting.  Exterior lighting can encourage birds to fly toward homes and can even cause disorientation. Keep these tips in mind as you install or update your home’s exterior lighting:

  • Shield and aim exterior lighting down, making it wildlife-friendly.
  • Install motion sensor lights.
  • Carefully choose the wattage of your exterior light bulbs to avoid over lighting.
  • Use warm-light LEDs.
  • Turn of lights seasonally from dusk to dawn mid-March through early June for spring migration and late August to mid-November for fall migration.

Prevent Birds From Hitting Windows With Help From Glass Doctor 

From DIY to professionally installed solutions, it’s evident that there’s a wide range of solutions that can help homeowners prevent birds from hitting their windows. To find out more about specialized glass, window film and windows for your home or business, contact your local Glass Doctor® or schedule an appointment online.

Now that you’ve protected your bird friends from your home’s windows, it’s time to protect your yard from animal neighbors with tips from The Grounds Guys. Like Glass Doctor, The Grounds Guys is part of the Neighborly® family of trusted home service professionals.