northern cardinal - why do birds hit windows

Why Do Birds Hit Windows?

I am sure that you have heard it before…a sudden loud thump that you can only figure had to be a bird hitting your window.  It is never a pleasant thing to hear either because you know it may be a death sentence for the poor bird….or not.

northern cardinal - why do birds hit windowsWhy do birds hit windows?  There are two reasons that they do this.  One reason is because the bird sees a reflection of the trees, clouds and sky reflecting off your window and it thinks it is the real thing so it flies right into it.

The other reason is because an aggressive male bird (usually in spring) sees a reflection of itself in your window thinking it is another male invading in its territory so it attacks it (your window that is).  Birds have even been known to attack car windows and rear view mirrors too for this same reason.

Last summer, my Dad showed me the spot in his garden room where an American Robin had been repeatedly attacking his window for up to twenty minutes at a time….several times a day!  It was driving him crazy and he wanted to know what he could do to stop it.  I told him that there are a few things that he could do.  Read on…..


How Can You Prevent Birds From Hitting Windows

  1.  Put decals, stickers, sun catchers, reflective tape, or anything like that on your outside window.  Just make sure to place the stickers or window alert - why do birds run into windowsdecals close enough together to break up any reflection.  You can purchase decals and stickers specifically for this purpose and it will provide instructions on how to put them on your window.
  2.  If your window is large, close your blinds or curtains during the sunny part of the day to break up any outside reflection.
  3. Hang your old CD’s by a string on the outside of your windows.  The shiny surface of the CD moving in the breeze is a deterrent for the birds.  I have even seen people just place CD’s using some form of tape in their windows to deter birds.
  4. Hang a wind chime near your window as the sound will deter the birds too.
  5. Make sure that your bird feeders are placed very close to your windows (about 3 feet or less) or further away up to 30 feet.  The reason being is because hawks like to attack their prey (birds such as mourning doves, cardinals, finches) at bird feeders.  If the feeder is close to the window the mourning dove or whatever the bird is will not have enough space for a big impact if it immediately tries to escape.  If the feeder is further away a bird can quickly escape (if it is lucky) without any window to stop it.
  6. Keep your window screens in as this will stop any kind of reflection.







What To Do If You Find A Stunned Bird

stunned bird - why do birds fly into windowsIf you find a stunned bird in your garden or on your porch or deck pick it up and try to place it on a tree limb nearby.  If you don’t think it will be able to perch on it then place it in a small container such as a box and put it in a shaded spot away from any possible predators.  Then keep an eye on it as the bird, if it is okay, will fly away within about ten or fifteen minutes.  Sometimes it could be longer as my husband and I have found.

There is no guarantee that the bird will still make it even if it does fly away.  Sometimes the bird dies later because of internal injuries.  It all depends on the impact in my experience.

If a bird is clearly injured and needs help then you can contact your local Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.  They have people who rescue birds and later release to the wild if there is any chance for survival.


In Conclusion

It is never a pleasant thing to hear when you find that a bird has hit your window.  The bird sees a reflection of the trees in your yard, the sky, or clouds and thinks it is the real thing and consequently flies into your window.

Yellow-throated warbler belize - birding belize the beachIt is not even pleasant when you find that a bird is continuously attacking your window throughout the day for quite a few days.  An aggressive male bird, (usually a cardinal or robin where I live but other bird species do it too) thinks it sees another bird invading its territory and starts attacking it (your window).  It can be very annoying over time.

To fix the problem you can put window decals, stickers, sun catchers, or reflective tape on your windows in the problem area.  You can also keep your blinds or curtains closed during the sunny part of the day to break up any reflection of the outside.    Another solution is to keep the screens in your windows as this breaks up the reflection too.

Your bird feeders could also be the problem.  When predators such as hawks fly in to catch its prey (a smaller bird) the bird in turn tries to take off or escape.  If you have your bird feeder close to the window the bird doesn’t have enough space to make a big impact as it tries to fly away.    If you keep your bird feeders farther away (30 feet or more) birds hitting windows in response to a sudden hawk attack won’t be a problem.

Do you have a better solution that you feel is effective for keeping the birds from hitting windows?  I would love to hear about it.  Or if you have any questions about this post please make your comments below.


Happy Birding!





Affiliate Disclosure – I am an Affiliate of many products promoted on this website and may earn a commission if you purchase something at no cost to you.

Posted in Songbirds and tagged .