How Can I Stop Birds From Flying Into My Windows?

Birds at feeder
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Q. About twice a day a bird flies into our large kitchen window. I don’t know why they are doing this. Is there any way to help the birds avoid the glass?

A. Birds weren’t designed for a modern world where solid objects don’t always look solid. Attempting to scare them  away from windows with decals of predators such as hawks or plastic owls on sticks doesn't seem to work that well because the birds aren’t fooled. What does work, however, is making the glass a little less invisible.

In researching this article, I found one expert who advises keeping windows just a little bit dirty, which made me laugh. That would never work at my house, because we like a very clean home, and we love our views. I could see this becoming a wonderful excuse, though: “My windows? Oh, no, they’re not dirty! I keep them that way to protect the birds!”

Make the Glass Look Solid

All humor aside, the best way to keep birds from slamming into the glass is to make it present a more solid appearance. This can be done by keeping shutters or other window coverings drawn, or by adhering a material to the window such as one-way reflector coverings (you can see out, but it looks solid to a bird) or designs that mimic etched or stained glass.

Putting decorative items that move, such as wind chimes or wind catchers, near the window will also help. The movements of these objects may keep birds from getting close to windows in the first place.

Thank you for thinking of the wild creatures we share space with. Where I practice in North Idaho, we’re always treating animals who’ve had less-than-ideal interactions with people. It’s great to know how many people are looking to protect the wild ones.

By the way, if you do run across a bird who smacked into a window, leave him be unless he's in a spot that leaves him vulnerable to predators. He may just be stunned and will most likely fly away on his own, although if you are concerned or have questions, call your local wildlife rehabilitation center for assistance.

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