To Save Birds, Prevent Window StrikesGeneral ·
Glass collisions are a huge problem for birds. The American Bird Conservancy estimates that up to a billion birds die in collisions with glass each year in the United States. Although most people have seen or heard a bird hit a window, they often believe it is an unusual event. Add up all those deaths and the number is staggering.
Both common and rare bird species hit windows. Back in 2015, Joe and I had a Red Crossbill hit one of our windows at our home here in Yakima. It was that crossbill striking the window and dying that inspired me to look for help preventing window strikes at our home.
Bird feeder and bird bath placement are important in helping to prevent collisions. The most likely place for birds hitting windows is near bird feeders. It may seem odd, but feeders are safest when they’re closest to windows—because if a bird takes off from the feeder or bath and hits the window, it won’t be going at top speed and has a better chance of surviving. Place feeders and baths CLOSER than 3 feet to a picture window (or even affixed to the glass or window frame), or FARTHER than 30 feet from a window.
There are other things you can do to help prevent birds from striking windows.
- Decals are readily available on the internet or at stores for bird lovers. They are inexpensive and rated ‘highly effective’ by the American Bird Conservancy. However, one or two decals on a small window may help reduce collisions, but become less effective as window size increases because birds will simply try to fly around them.
- Vertical cords can also be mounted in front of glass. They are often referred to as ‘Zen Curtains.’ We have used these at our place for five years, and we have been very pleased with the results. We know others in Yakima who use them as well. We have had birds bump the windows when they are trying to escape a hawk or falcon, but none of them have died since we have installed the cords.. Just a few days ago, we watched as a Sharp-shinned hawk chased a bird toward the window. The bird escaped, the hawk banked sharply and its tail brushed the window (making the cords move), but it flew off unharmed.
- One example using vertical cords is called Acopian Bird Savers. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. Check out their website here: http://www.birdsavers.com/. You may purchase them from the website, but if you prefer, they will give you instructions on how to make your own. They do not charge for the plans. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, we’ve heard they are fairly easy to make.
- For more information on these or other solutions for bird collisions, please visit the American Bird Conservancy’s website at https://abcbirds.org/get-involved/bird-smart-glass/