Windows are the single-biggest cause of human-related bird deaths in the United States. Often, birds will fly into your window because the window's reflection makes it look as if it's open space. Whether you're a bird enthusiast or simply someone who cares about wild animals, knowing what to do when a bird hits your window --- and how you can prevent such collisions --- can make a world of difference.
Live Birds: Leave It Alone
A bird that hits your window will often simply fly away afterward. However, sometimes the impact can leave the bird dazed, stunned and lying on the ground. In most cases, you should simply leave the bird there and give it a chance to recover on its own and fly away. The only time you need to take action is if the bird is endangered by nearby predators, such as your pet cat or dog.
Live Birds: Pack Them Up
If you find a dazed bird underneath your window and are worried about predators taking advantage of it, pick it up gently. Place it in an enclosed shoebox and put the shoebox somewhere warm and quiet. This gives the bird time to recuperate in peace. Once the bird is alert and fluttering around, take the shoebox outside and release your feathered friend.
If you find a dead bird, put on disposable gloves before handling it. Sometimes, birds may carry diseases that you don't want to transfer to yourself or your pets. Pick up the dead bird and place it in a sealable plastic bag. Dispose of the bag in a covered trash receptacle where your pets or children won't be tempted to open or play with it.
Discourage Bird Collisions
If you continue to have problems with birds hitting your windows, make them less of a target. Move any bird feeders away from the area. Then attach items to your window that make it obvious that it's not a fly-through zone. For example, you could tape solid paper or patterns to the inside of the window, or you could install commercially prepared tinting products that dull the reflection of windows.
- "The Wilson Journal of Ornithology"; Preventing Bird-Window Collisions; Daniel Klem; 2009
- Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine: Frequently Asked Questions --- Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows?
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology: All About Birds
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology's BirdNotes; Making Your Windows Safe for Birds; 2004
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