windows and glass

Imprint of a bird on glass window

Windows, glass doors, greenhouses and even decorative mirrors can be lethal for birds.  Hundreds of millions of birds die each year due to collisions with windows in North America alone, with little data available in the UK.

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Double glazed windows especially can be problematic, as they provide very clear reflections, and many birds only see open sky reflected in the glass and don’t realise it is a flat surface. With our population ever expanding, and increasing urbanisation, living in proximity with our bird species is becoming commonplace. This means that these incidences may become more frequent unless something is done. Recent studies found that pied wagtails nesting very close to a brightly lit windowed building had died following a window collision, with over 19 individuals examined.

Often the first you know about window collisions is the loud bang of the bird impact. Whilst larger birds can sometimes survive the impact, most smaller birds die from their injuries or from shock.  Do anything you can to limit bird strikes.

How to avoid window collisions?

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We have a few top tips on how you can avoid window collisions for your feathered friends.

  • Rooms with windows facing each other are often more susceptible to bird strikes, as many birds think there is a way through this area. Cover one of these windows to limit collisions.
  • If you have blinds or curtains, these windows are less likely to be struck than windows without.
  • These unobtrusive yet highly effective window markers fit to the outside of your windows to help prevent bird collisions. Designed to break up surface reflections without damaging the glass, the kit comes with everything you need, and you can buy multiple rolls depending on how many windows you need to cover. To find out more or to order click here to visit the Feather Friendly website here.
  • There are many options available for bird stickers, including these from CJ wildlife if you want stickers which show your love for the birds (click here) You can even make your own at home to jazz up your windows how you see fit!
dotted glass film for bird strike protection

What to do if a bird collides with a window

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If you hear a bird collide with a window and it is on the floor but still alive, move it to a safe and dark place outside, so that it can recover without the worry of predation. Check on it after an hour or so, and if it is still there and alive (but not moving), contact your local wildlife rescue. The bird may have suffered a concussion or other internal injuries, and it is best to keep it in a safe space whilst waiting for help to arrive.  

Dead sparrow after window collision
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Basilio, L.G., Moreno, D.J., Piratelli, A.J. (2020) Main causes of bird-window collisions: a review. Annals of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences.  92(1): e20180745 DOI 10.1590/0001-3765202020180745

Colling, O. M., Guglielmo, C.G., Bonner, S.J., Morbey, Y.E. (2022) Migratory songbirds and urban window collision mortality: vulnerability depends on species, diel timing of migration, and age class. Avian Conservation and Ecology 17(1):22.

Duff, J.P., Richey, M., Holmes, J.P., Bianco, C., Duff, K.P., Lawson, B. (2020) Suspected collision trauma deaths in pied wagtails. Vet Record. 186(18): 609-610.

Rebolo-Ifrán, N., Zamora-Nasca, L., Lambertucci, S.A. (2021) Cat and dog predation on birds: The importance of indirect predation after bird-window collisions. Perspectives in Ecology and Conservation. 19(3):293-299.  

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