Move your feeders. If fewer birds are encouraged to congregate near your windows, the odds of one running into the glass will drop. Locate feeders, birdbaths and other attractants...

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Thud. It’s that stomach-turning sound of a bird flying into a window at full tilt. Birds can’t distinguish glass from open air, and that lack of judgment can injure or kill them. No one knows how many birds whack into windows each year, but ornithologist Daniel Klem Jr. estimates the U.S. death toll at 100 million to 1 billion. Most strikes happen in winter, when birds visit feeders in large numbers and often run into windows on their way to or from feeding stations. Here are some suggestions for preventing bird strikes — none is foolproof, but any could save a beak or two — and one could even recycle your holiday ornaments.

Move your feeders.

If fewer birds are encouraged to congregate near your windows, the odds of one running into the glass will drop. Locate feeders, birdbaths and other attractants far away from windows — at least 3 feet.

Break the impact.

Install insect screening or fine netting over the exterior of a window to intercept the bird’s flight into a window. It can prevent the bird from hitting the window altogether or slow the bird down and lessen the blow.

Break up the view.

Affix stickers to the outside of a window to interrupt a bird’s field of vision. That way, the bird no longer will perceive the window as a stretch of open sky. But forget the idea of putting up one or two stickers of hawks, owls or other predators — for one thing, birds don’t perceive the stickers as animals. For another, the stickers don’t cover enough of the window to be effective. Instead, cover the whole window uniformly and position the stickers close together — ideally, 2 to 4 inches apart. The shape of the stickers isn’t important; the amount of window covered is. You can use fewer stickers and space them farther apart.

You also can affix strips of tape to the window in a grid pattern, or install imitation window mullions.

Hang a plant directly outside a window

or suspend something like tree branches over the window’s exterior. The plant or branch invites a bird to land there, so the bird slows its flight.

String bird feathers

about 8 inches apart on fishing line and hang it on the window.


Plants interrupt birds’ field of vision and invite them to slow down and land.

Reduce reflection.

Screening and netting have the added benefit of reducing a window’s reflectivity. A light coating of vegetable-oil spray or even spray-on fake snow will do the same thing, as will plastic food wrap stuck to the window — if necessary, on top of a light spray of vegetable oil or water.

Window tinting designed to reduce ultraviolet rays can cut reflectivity as well, but it would need to be manufactured with some kind of pattern visible from the outside that birds would recognize — something like the one-way film used for advertisements on bus windows. Whatever covering you use to reduce reflectivity needs to be applied to the outside of the window.

Razzle-dazzle ’em.

Birds hate shiny things. Attach a Mylar balloon to the window sill, or suspend shiny objects such as foil strips, aluminum pie pans, old compact discs or Christmas ornaments outside the window.

Install translucent glass.

Consider replacing transparent glass with frosted or fritted glass. Or try soaping the outside of a problem window during the time of year when bird strikes are high. Soap film doesn’t reflect the way glass does.

Source: Knight Ridder Newspapers