Solutions to Birds Hitting Windows

Most homes in the U.S. are estimated to kill a few birds every year. Fortunately, there are easy solutions to solve the problem of birds hitting windows!

Bird feeders located near windows are a hazard. Red-breasted Nuthatch, Paul Reeves Photography/Shutterstock

Bird Collisions at Home Windows

Almost 50 percent of bird collision mortality happens on home windows, and the most likely place for birds hitting windows is near bird feeders.

If you have outside screens on all your windows, you’re already on your way to having a bird-friendly home. The patterns made by mullions in colonial windows also reduce the likelihood of collisions.

Luckily, there’s a lot you can do to make your house and yard safer for birds. See our Bird-Smart Glass page for a variety of easy solutions.

Application of ABC BirdTape

Window Solutions to Help Birds

Research has identified ways to alert birds to windows. The easiest way to stop birds hitting windows is to apply visible patterns to the outside of windows.

  • Most birds will avoid glass with vertical stripes spaced four inches apart or horizontal stripes spaced two inches apart. Stripes should be at least 1/4″ wide. Generally, white stripes perform better, as they are visible against more backgrounds.
  • Patterns and even artwork done on glass with tempera paint will last a surprisingly long time, can be easily removed or replaced and are non-toxic. Tape and decals are readily available on the internet or at stores for bird lovers; you can also see our Bird-Smart Glass page for more products.

Tempera paint on window – the opportunities are endless! Photo by Chris Sheppard

  • Cords or netting can be mounted in front of glass, as can external motorized shades and screens.
  • Not all windows are equally hazardous. Check to see which of your windows are most reflective and closest to areas where birds are active, like feeders. Collisions happen more frequently when more birds are present, such as during spring and fall migration and when many young birds are present.

Learn more about living a bird-friendly life.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak at window. Photo by valleyboi63/Shutterstock

Bird Collisions at Hard-to-Reach Windows

Because some windows are difficult to access from the outside, such as in a high-rise building, a frequent question is, “Will putting something on the inside of my windows work for birds?

Only a test can provide the answer, because different kinds of glass have different levels of reflections. Put a sample of your proposed solution, or a sticky note or piece of adhesive tape, on the inside of the window and then look from the outside every hour or two, starting in the early morning.

If you can clearly see your test material most of the time, birds will, too, and you can use an “inside” solution. However, in many cases, reflections will mask the view during part or all of the day, and you’ll need a solution on the outside of your windows. Solutions like tape or decals must also be carefully spaced to effectively stop birds hitting windows.