How to Keep Birds from Running Into Windows

Did you know about 1 billion birds die each year from hitting windows in the U.S.? It's a huge issue that needs attention. How can we help birds avoid these accidents?

At night, migrating birds, especially songbirds, can get confused by our lights. They might hit windows that are lit up. This happens when lights make them miss their path, causing them to crash. Also, city lights can pull these birds off course, making them more likely to hit windows during the day.

The good news is we can help. Some cities, like Dallas and New York, are taking action. They're turning off lights at night and using lights that shine downward. This helps birds follow their natural flight paths safely.

With simple changes, we can protect birds from getting hurt by windows. Working together, we can ensure birds live safely in our communities. Let's make our neighborhoods places where birds can thrive without harm.

Understanding the Danger to Birds

Glass windows are a major risk for birds. Their reflections can confuse birds into hitting the windows when they try to fly through. This can lead to instant death or serious injuries. It's essential to know the dangers and act to prevent bird accidents with windows.

Many night-flying birds, like songbirds, face dangers from lit windows. Urban lights might make them lose their way, hitting other structures. City buildings' lights might also draw them off their flight paths, putting them at higher risk of window accidents.

Many U.S. cities are now joining Lights Out initiatives to protect birds from night lights. Places like Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and New York are working to dim city lights to help migratory birds avoid dangers.

The American Bird Conservancy leads a Bird Collisions Program. They provide info and help to stop birds from hitting windows. They research, teach, and advocate to prevent bird strikes and inform about the issue.

There are many products that can help prevent birds from hitting windows. These include Acopian Bird Savers, decals, netting, and special films that reflect light one way. Adding screens or shutters can also lower the risk of bird-window collisions.

Putting mosquito netting at least 3 inches away from windows can be a big help. It stops birds from flying straight to the glass, making it safer for them.

If a bird hits your window, quick help from a wildlife rehab can save its life. These centers are skilled at caring for hurt birds. They offer the best chance for birds to heal and go back to nature.

Understanding and acting on the dangers of glass windows can save many birds. With right prevention, we can help our feathered friends avoid harm.

- Up to about 1 billion birds die from window strikes in the U.S. each year as per a 2014 study.
- An annual Lights Out project in New York City reduced hundreds of bird collisions by turning off the 9/11 memorial for 20 to 30 minutes at a time.
- Nearly 30% of the North American bird population has been lost since 1970 due to window strikes.
- Research estimates that 365 million to one billion birds collide with buildings every year in the U.S. alone.
- Birds within 10 meters (a little more than 30 feet) of windows are those most often killed, according to Daniel Klem, Professor of Ornithology and Conservation Biology at Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania.

Identifying Problematic Windows

Protecting birds from hitting windows is key. Some windows can be especially dangerous. Big picture windows, especially when not covered, allow birds to see through them. They might think it's a safe way to fly. Windows that form a corner can make birds see reflections. They might think the glass is a way through.

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Think about bird feeders near your windows. In spring and summer, birds are more active. They might see their reflection as a rival and attack, thinking it's another bird.

When checking windows, consider how a bird would see them. Look for reflections of plants or the sky. Birds might think the reflection is a real place to fly through. Also, watch for things on the other side of the window that might attract birds.

Window Alert Decals and Holographic Flash Tape

To stop bird strikes, people use things that scare birds visually. Window Alert Decals and Holographic Flash Tape are two such items. They help keep birds from flying into windows.

Window Alert Decals: These decals reflect UV light, seen by birds but not us. They warn birds of the window. Remember, you need to replace them often because they lose their effect.

Holographic Flash Tape: This tape shines in the light, moves in the wind, and makes noise. It can remind birds of predators, keeping them from your windows. For best results, use it with Window Alert Decals.

SpectrumV Gel Dishes

Another choice is SpectrumV Gel Dishes. They're filled with a gel that birds don't like. Place them a few inches apart on windowsills. This makes an off-putting barrier for birds.

Adding Holographic Flash Tape or Window Alert Decals to the gel dishes can work better. These items give off sound, sight, and touch warnings to birds. Together, they really reduce bird strike risks.

Covering glass with window screening or netting
Most effective
Vertical strips of tape or closely placed decals on the exterior glass
Highly effective
Marking glass with permanent paint or markers
Temporary effectiveness (inks fade rapidly)
Installing external shutters and keeping them closed
Effective when shut
Keeping interior vertical blinds half open
Moderately effective
Window decals
Effective, but must be closely placed

Falcon and owl decals might not help much, studies find. Even with different shapes and ways to scare them, some windows are still dangerous for birds. We must use more methods to keep them safe.

Many birds in the U.S. die each year from hitting windows, up to 1 billion. We can help by using bird-friendly window solutions. Things like Window Alert Decals, Holographic Flash Tape, and SpectrumV Gel Dishes play a big role. They reduce bird strikes and help protect bird species.

Window Marking Techniques

It's important to stop bird-window crashes to save bird lives. Many ways can make windows more visible to birds. This helps lower the chance of birds flying into windows. Methods include using special markers, decals, and stickers, which act as a warning to birds.

Promptly painting or using soap to create lines or art on a window is one solution. These should be a 2-inch grid with each spot at least 6 mm (1/4 inch) wide. Such decoration can serve as a visual alert for birds.

Another good way is to stick decals, stickers, or tapes near each other on the window. When arranged in certain patterns, they warn birds and help prevent crashes.

Window Marking Techniques
Soap or Paint Grid Patterns
Effectively increases window visibility for birds when properly spaced.
Decals, Stickers, and Tape
Provide visual cues to birds, reducing the risk of collisions when applied closely together.

Screens placed outside windows can also work well in preventing birds from hitting windows. These screens should not touch the window but be at least 3 inches away. They provide a protective buffer for the birds.

Then, there's a product called Collidescape. It dims light reflecting off the window, making it more visible to birds. This way, birds are less likely to try and fly through the glass.

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Always use the right size and space for any markings. Following the correct guidelines is key to their success. By using these methods, we can greatly reduce bird dangers and safeguard our avian friends.

Resources and Products

  • The Bird Screen Company
  • Acopian Bird Savers
  • Ornilux Bird Protection Glass
  • Magnatag Visible Systems
  • Cornell Lab of Ornithology
  • American Bird Conservancy
  • Fatal Light Awareness Project
  • National Audubon Society

Additional Window Solutions

There are many more ways to make windows safer for birds than just markings. These solutions focus on making windows easier to see for birds. This cuts down the number of bird collisions. Let's look at some top options:

Mosquito Screens

Putting mosquito screens on the outside of windows acts as a shield. They let air in but stop birds from hitting the glass. This is a simple and easy way to help protect birds.


Netting, placed a few inches away, prevents birds from flying into windows. It works like a barrier, safely guiding them away from the glass. This method is both effective and low-cost.

One-Way Transparent Film

One-way transparent films, such as Collidescape, are a great option. They cut down on reflections, making it easier for birds to see windows. From the inside, the view is clear. But, birds see a barrier and avoid a crash.

External Shutters, Sun Shades, or Awnings

Adding shutters, sun shades, or awnings outside helps too. They reduce the reflections that can confuse birds. These additions also make windows stand out more to birds.

Bird-Friendly Glass

For new buildings or renovations, choose bird-friendly glass. There's fritted glass, angled glass, and glass that reflects UV light. These types of glass have patterns or textures that warn birds away from the windows. This really lowers the chance of collisions.

By using these extra solutions, we can prevent many bird collisions. It's a good way to keep birds safe around our homes and buildings.

Lights Out Initiatives

At night, artificial lights can confuse migratory birds. This confusion leads them to hit windows. To help birds migrate safely, many U.S. cities are dimming the lights. They are part of the Lights Out initiatives. The goal is to cut back on nighttime artificial light. This makes the journey safer for these birds.

Cities like Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, and New York City are joining in. They are turning off unneeded lights. Plus, they encourage lights that shine down. These small changes are helping to keep birds from hitting windows.

These efforts are not just for the birds. By using less light, we save on energy. The EPA says using less power is a big help for businesses. It helps them spend less and care for our planet.

Turning lights off is a big deal. It keeps birds from flying into windows. When we tell others about this issue, we can all use less light. This makes cities a safer place for birds.

Helping a Bird After a Collision

If you find a bird that hit a window, you can help it. Here's what to do:

  1. Gently catch the bird. Use clean, soft gloves to pick it up. Put it in a safe container.
  2. Choose a good container. An unwaxed paper bag or small box works. It should have air holes for breathing.
  3. Keep it calm. Place the container in a quiet, warm, and dark spot. No noise or stress for the bird.
  4. Don't touch or feed it. A stressed or hurt bird can be scared. It's best not to add more stress.
  5. Call a rehab. Get in touch with a local bird rescue or rehab center. They can tell you what to do next.
  6. Listen to the experts. Follow the advice of the rehab center. This will help the bird get well.
  7. Let it go safely. When it's time, release the bird where it's safe. Make sure it's away from glass windows.
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There are people trained to help hurt birds. They know what to do. Let them care for the bird to get it back to health.

Creating Bird-Friendly Communities

When we design our buildings, we can make them safer for birds. We should pick the right glass for windows and place them carefully. It's also smart to add plants near windows. Doing this lowers the chances that birds will hit our windows.

For many years, scientist Daniel Klem has been studying bird window crashes. His work suggests a lot of birds die this way every year. Experts think the number is huge, maybe up to one billion birds in the U.S. alone. Sadly, for every bird we find, there are likely three more we don't notice.

Choosing the right glass can help a lot. Glass with small dots on it every few inches can cut down on crashes. Toronto's new buildings must have this special glass. It's a law there now.

How we design and mark our windows is also key. If you put vertical marks on windows, birds can tell it’s not a clear flight path. Adding stickers or strings outside the window can also alert birds to the glass.

Don't forget about the plants. Using local plants and trees near windows is a great idea. Birds love these areas and will stay away from the dangerous windows. This makes sure they can fly safely.

Lights Out Initiatives

It's not just about windows in bird-friendly areas. We have to think about lights at night, too. Bright lights can throw off birds traveling at night. Many U.S. cities are turning off lights or using them less at certain times to help birds find their way.

We need to change how we do many things to make places safer for birds. It's all about understanding what they need to live without danger from us. With the right actions, we can cut down on how many birds are hurt by our buildings and lights.

Bird Collision Prevention Measures

Strips of tape applied to windows create a visible barrier for birds.
Patterns or designs applied to windows using decals can help birds recognize the presence of a barrier.
Installing netting over windows can prevent birds from colliding with the glass.
Window screens provide an additional layer of protection and reduce the risk of bird collisions.
One-way transparent film
This film allows occupants to see outside while making the glass more visible to birds.
External shutters
Shutters can be closed during peak bird activity to reduce reflections and make windows less hazardous.
Sun shades and awnings
These provide shade and reduce reflections, making windows easier for birds to identify.


It is crucial to prevent birds from hitting windows to keep our bird populations safe. In the U.S., around a billion birds die yearly from window strikes. Since the 1970s, experts like Daniel Klem have worked on this issue. Also, groups such as the American Bird Conservancy and the Fatal Light Awareness Program share advice on bird safety.

There are two types of window strikes: daytime and nighttime. At night, lights can confuse birds, leading to crashes into buildings. Yet, many steps can lower the chances of this. Adding vertical markings, spaced 2 inches apart, helps keep small birds away. You can also use items like tempera paint, decals, and screens to stop birds from hitting windows.

Cities are starting “Lights Out” programs to help birds by turning off lights at night. If a bird hits your window, getting help from a wildlife rehab center is important. By using these tips and products like Bird Strike Window Film, we can make a big difference. Let’s work together to save birds and make our communities better.

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