Millions of wild birds are killed each year from flying into the windows of our homes and businesses. However, there are simple, practical steps we can take to drastically reduce that number. Here are my “Top 5” suggestions.
Moving Feeders: Most of the birds that are “killed by windows” are the ones that visit our backyards on a regular basis. Occasionally moving the location of our feeders will change the birds’ flight patterns, thus making them more conscious of their surroundings. This can easily be done if you hang your feeder from a shepherd hook (ground or deck mount) or a tree branch (switch branches a couple times a year). If you prefer mounting your feeders from posts then just be sure not to place them too close to your house.
Window Decals: Several companies produce opaque static-cling decals which stick to your window. The ones we carry in our store brilliantly reflect ultraviolet sunlight, which is invisible to humans but glows in a bird’s sight. These decals (in the shape of a cardinal or hummingbird) help the birds to see that a window is really there and detours their course of flight.
Artificial Snow and Vegetable Oil: Put a very small amount of cooking oil on a paper towel and wipe it on the outside of the windows that seem to be the most deadly for birds. Then sprinkle fake snow (I recommend the extra-sparkly type we carry in our store) on the oiled portions. Sunlight will reflect off the “snow” and deter birds from flying too close.
Sun-catchers: Hanging decorative sun-catchers on the inside of your windows may also help. My mom (an avid bird watcher and feeder) always had at least one stained-glass sun catcher hanging in each of our kitchen windows—the ones closest to our feeders. Her oval sun catcher with a red cardinal on a branch is the one that is forever etched in my memory. Next time you are at a craft fair, consider picking up a quality, handmade sun catcher, or two.
Bird Netting: The least eye-pleasing method, but which is sure to work, is to stretch bird netting across your problem windows (we carry a very thin, discrete plastic version). Some people like to tie small pieces of fabric to the netting to make it more visible. Hanging small Christmas decorations or an old CD from the netting will also reflect light, draw attention to its presence, and keep the birds away.
These are just five simple things we can do to help prevent the unnecessary death of our backyard birds. What have you found works best?