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How To Stop Birds Flying Into Windows

How to stop birds from flying into windows

Birds fly into windows. It’s tragic, and many die, but what can we do about it? Are there solutions for birds flying into windows?

Fortunately, yes, there are! We don’t have to remove our big, beautiful picture windows or stop feeding our backyard birds. With easy solutions, we can prevent hundreds of bird deaths caused by window strikes at our homes and places of work.

See this vital article to save the lives of hundreds, even thousands of the birds that we love!


Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows?


Big picture windows are perfect for watching backyard birds, but sadly, they can also be avian death traps. Although our feathered friends have excellent eyesight, it’s not good enough to notice windows.

Instead of seeing glass, birds notice potted plants on the other side of the window or a reflection of backyard trees and bushes. They have no idea the glass is there, fly to what they believe is vegetation, and smash into solid glass.

If the Blue Jay, cardinal, or other bird doesn’t break its neck, it might be stunned but gets up and flies off. However, even if the bird seems alright, sadly, most eventually succumb to brain bleeds and other serious injuries caused by the traumatic impact.

An unfortunate window strike victim


Although all birds are susceptible to flying into windows, young, inexperienced birds are even more likely to become window-strike victims.

The other main set of birds that perish from window strikes are migratory species. As warblers, vireos, and other birds migrate through the night, they become attracted to lights. Many fly into lit windows on tall buildings. If they don’t hit the windows at night, sadly, they often roost near them and hit those same windows during the day.


How To Stop Birds From Flying Into Windows

An incredible number of birds die after hitting windows. Some studies have shown that one billion birds in the USA may die from window strikes every year!

Fortunately, we have several easy and good solutions to prevent those bird deaths.

Related: What does seeing a dead bird mean?


Zen Curtains or Bird Savers

If you have seen long dark strings hanging in front of a window, you have seen a “zen curtain.” This method is one of the best and easiest ways to stop birds from flying into your windows.

As a testament to this effective solution, more than one ornithology lab uses these “Bird Savers” on their windows.

The strings are spaced close together and hang down from the top to the bottom of the front part of a window. Like so, birds notice them and don’t try to fly between the strings. At the same time, the strings don’t block your view of those same backyard birds.


Decals, Tape, and Soap

Another window strike solution is sticking or painting things on the window. You can use your favorite decals, stickers, mylar strips, and tape. However, they have to be more than just a few stickers.

If only one or two decals are present, although birds will avoid them, they can still fly into other parts of the window. To prevent that from happening, decals and tape should be placed around two inches apart from each other.

Similarly, we can also use soap or tempura paint to make a two by two-inch grid pattern or even get artistic and paint other patterns and art on the window.



Installing screens is another means of keeping birds from flying into windows. As long as the screens cover the entire window and are on the outside of it, they should keep birds from flying into them.

Screens keep the windows from showing a reflection of the backyard, and birds can of course see them. Both metal and mesh screens work well and shouldn’t obscure your view of the backyard.

If they do obscure the view, you might want to use screens on some windows but place a Zen curtain or other solution on your main viewing window.


One-way transparent films

If you don’t want to stick decals on your windows or hang strings in front of them, certain transparent films can also save birds. These films can be great because although they look opaque to birds on the outside, they are transparent on the inside!

There are different ways to make windows visible for birds

Basically, you can see out, but the birds (and people) can’t see in. These types of transparent films are available in different styles and with patterns designed to prevent bird strikes. They are also pretty easy to install on your own.

In general, you stick them to the top of the outside of a window and hang and trim it like wallpaper.


External shutters and shades

Yet another way to prevent bird deaths from window strikes is with shutters and window shades. If building or remodeling a home, install shutters or shades on the outside of your windows. Close them with a switch or otherwise, and they’ll immediately prevent birds from flying into windows.

As a bonus, such shades or shutters can also help cool a home and thus save on energy cooling costs.

Exterior shades are ideal, but some internal shades can also work. Vertical blinds kept open halfway present an image that acts somewhat like Zen curtains. Birds see them and don’t want to try and fly through them.


Frequently Asked Questions

What does it mean when a bird keeps flying into your window?

When a bird keeps flying into your window, it usually means that the bird is attacking its own reflection. It thinks another bird is there and wants to drive it away from its territory.

What to do for a bird that hit the window?

For a bird that hit a window, carefully catch it, place it in a paper bag or cardboard box with tissue paper that the bird can hold onto, and bring it ASAP to a certified wildlife rehabilitator.

Do birds recover from flying into windows?

No, most birds do not recover from flying into windows. Some birds can recover from flying into windows, but only if they are quickly brought to a wildlife rehabilitator.

Do birds see glass?

No, birds do not see glass. They see the reflection in glass and think they are flying to vegetation.

About the Author

Patrick O'Donnell

Patrick O'Donnell has been focused on all things avian since the age of 7. Since then, he has helped with ornithological field work in the USA and Peru, and has guided many birding tours, especially in Costa Rica. He develops birding apps for BirdingFieldGuides and loves to write about birds, especially in his adopted country of Costa Rica.

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