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Any ideas to help prevent birds from striking your windows?

September 12th, 2009, 10:33 AM
This morning yet another little bird struck my back window. For some reason, this year it seems to be always the same kind of bird. Looks kind of like a goldfinch but not exactly the same. This little guy ended up flying away after he recovered from his daze, as did all but one of the others this year but apparently, of the birds that fly away, quite a few may still die later of internal injuries.

In cruising the internet I came across this idea (Feather Guard) which is supposed to work quite well. You can easily make it yourself from fishline and feathers.

Here are the instructions for making one:

or if someone doesn't feel like making it themselves, it is also offered for sale ready made (would be much cheaper to make it yourself), here:

I am thinking of trying this, but first I was wondering what other things people might have tried to help prevent bird strikes and how well they have worked for them.

September 12th, 2009, 10:59 AM
Here is a video for you.

I don't like in the idea of Fishing line being used in the product that you are interested in. And also the idea of those garden netting that you can buy...I've had to cut out chipmunks, birds, snakes, etc from garden netting. Not a good idea. You can also try calling Toronto Wildlife Center. You will have to leave a voice message with them first. Or try Humane Wildlife Control.


September 12th, 2009, 12:34 PM
From what I understand the reason birds fly into the windows is that the sun is shining on them, which causes the birds to not see a window, but a part of nature (the sky, trees opposite the window, etc). Therefore the birds are thinking they're flying in a normal part of the air, but instead there is a window which is merely displaying a reflection.

The strands of feathers would alert the birds by breaking the illusion of that reflection.

We had birds flying into our kitchen window, which is just off of our deck. It would only happen in spring when the sun was at a certain angle in relation to that window. I put up a makeshift 'awning' during the time of year where the sun would shine directly on the window (thereby preventing a reflection), and the birds stopped flying into it.

You could perhaps get some of those cheap wicker rolling blinds, and attach it to the outside so that you can roll it down at this time of year? In order to not block light, you could remove three strips of wicker and leave two in, then remove three and leave two, etc... so that there is still a barrier that interupts the reflection, but doesn't block the sun from coming into your home?

The point would be to block the reflection - that's why internal curtains doesn't work - the reflection is actually increased when there's a more solid background. The feathers in the link you provided would be moving in front of the reflection (and casting a shadow, which breaks the reflection or parts thereof) even in a very light breeze. In the link it mentions a feeder being the trigger during fall... If there is a bird feeder, and the birds are flying directly from the feeder into the window, the reflection might be seen only from that feeder's perspective when the sun is at a certain angle to it. Things to keep in mind when considering your options... You may not see a reflection from the ground, but perhaps see if there's a certain time of day when the sun comes into your room most brightly - that is the time when the reflection on the outside would be most strong...

September 12th, 2009, 12:48 PM
As Marcha points out, birds hit windows because they either see through to another window, or because they see the reflection of the trees and sky in the window. Either way, they think it's a way 'through'.

Around here the worst time seems to be after the year's broods have fledged and before they migrate. We've had good luck with two strategies--we tape the outside of the windows--just an x across the pane of glass or criss-crossing done in masking tape will do (remember to take it down after the birds have migrated or the adhesive will leave a hard-to-remove residue). This breaks up the reflection (which is why it has to be on the outside of the pane since anything inside is masked by the reflection) and warns that there's something solid there.

The other thing we do is to hang something shiny from the eaves that will sway in the wind. Currently, there are spinning Christmas icicle decorations along the eaves of problem areas. They stay up all year. They don't entirely eliminate window hits, but seem to slow the birds down as they approach--fatalities went way down.

I wish they'd figure out a way to make TV and radio towers safer for birds, too. In Milwaukee, they sometimes have thousands (even tens of thousands) of migrating birds die each night as they try to make it past the TV towers. :sad: The fatalities are staggering in number if you add them up year after year.

September 13th, 2009, 01:36 PM
Thanks for the ideas.

Thanks for the link, ACO22. Although, from what I have read, the Feather Guard has apparently been field tested for several years and found to be safe and effective in this kind of application, your important reminder about the horrible consequences to wildlife that often results from the careless use or disposal of fishing line has made me stop and think about whether this is the best option.

Marcha, because the window faces SSW I get a lot of sun for most of the day. I can see the reflection of the tree and hanging planters quite clearly when looking from the outside so I can see birds getting confused by this. I have thought about putting an awning in that window to block out some of the sun but it never occurred to me that it might also being helpful in preventing window strikes. Something to look into for next year. The wicker blinds on the outside are also a good idea if view isn't that important. However, this is the only window that gives us a great view of the back yard. I am sitting with my laptop at the dining room table right now looking out the window as I type. This is the only window I have a problem with, so I am looking for something that is effective but obstructs the view as little as possible.

Haven't used feeders for a couple of years after some falcons decided my yard was a great place to swoop down for a free lunch, but this year I am having more problems with bird strikes than I did when I used them, and it seems to be always the same kind of little bird.:wall::wall:

Hazel, I crisscrossed some masking tape on the outside of the window for now like you mentioned. That should hopefully take care of things for the short time remaining this season. I had heard that shiny twirly objects work well for a more permanent solution. How low do your icicle decorations hang above your windows?

Another possibility I was looking at was Windows Alert decals. They shouldn't obscure the view that much either. Has anybody used these?

September 13th, 2009, 08:48 PM
The icicles are on light chain and hang at the level of the top of the windows about a meter out from the house.

Those Window Alert decals are interesting, but I'm wondering if they actually would work. If the birds can see the UV, they probably already see it reflected from the window, so I'm not sure if a UV-bright decal would show in the general glare :shrug:

September 16th, 2009, 05:51 AM
You cqn purchase a "sticker" that you place on your window that has a pattern or picture on it and the birds will see that while flying towards it and not be inclined to fly into the windows. I think you can get it at hardware stores. You can also try contacting the Midland Wildlife Centre and see if they have any other ideas 705-534-4350.

September 16th, 2009, 05:55 AM
I have all kinds of chimes and glass suncatchers hanging along my 30 foot verranda for the past 5 yrs and the birds no longer run into the windows (2 picture windows) each year we'd have a partridge die by hitting one of them, I was forever picking up birds in shock and warming them till they could fly, since hanging these up I haven't had one casualty

October 12th, 2009, 12:03 PM
We just made black silhouette cutouts of birds and under each one hung a simple white circle with a big black dot that looks like a big eyeball. They hang on light fishing line, inside, and when the AC is on, or the heat, they move a bit. That's the downfall since they are not always on. It has reduced the number of window crashes but we still get a few.