Decorate Windows to Prevent Bird Collisions

Windowsill plant

During spring and fall migration, birds are most likely to collide with windows. Even if you have not seen or heard a bird hit your window, injured birds are often scavenged by a predator. Help birds and have fun decorating your windows at the same time.

What You Need

  • Electrical or duct tape
  • Netting
  • Sparkly ribbons or garbage bag
  • Tempura paint
  • Window films

What You Do

  1. Paint or put tape on your windows.
    If you would like a temporary and inexpensive solution, you can paint stripes on your window with tempura paint. According to the American Bird Conservancy, most birds will avoid windows with one-quarter-inch wide, white, vertical stripes spaced four inches apart, or one-eighth-inch, black, horizontal stripes spaced one inch apart. You can also paint creative designs like squiggles and flowers if that’s more fun for your family. Just keep the same general idea in terms of spaces between the designs.

    Windowsill plant

  2. Apply window film.
    The challenge with many popular pre-fabricated decals (such as spider webs, owls or bats) is that 80 percent of the window needs to be covered to ensure the bird’s safety. There is a product called CollidEscape that is transparent from inside your home but opaque from outside your home.
  3. Close curtains and blinds.
    In some cases, it helps if you just close your curtains or blinds. In many cases, birds are looking for a place to escape from a predator, and they see trees reflected in your windows. Closing the curtains or blinds does not always remove the reflection, but it can reduce it and also remove the “empty” space of your home that looks like a safe place to go.
  4. Put feeders and bird baths close to windows.
    Streamers of shiny, reflective plastic ribbon or strips of black garbage bags help birds because they move in the breeze and glitter. They work better than a silhouette of a hawk stuck on the window because resident birds soon figure out those hawks are not real.
  5. Put feeders and bird baths close to windows.
    When a bird takes off from your feeder or bath in a rush to get away from a perceived threat, if the window is close by, they won’t pick up enough speed to really hurt themselves. More often, they will bounce off the window and survive. The further from the window, the more likely the bird will hit with enough speed to die.
  6. Hang taut netting in front of the window.
    Some people hang taut netting at least a few inches from the window. There are companies that specialize in making this type of netting. They come with suction cups and eye hooks already attached to the netting. To find products that work for you, search under “bird collision prevention.” Awnings and shrubs near the window also provide shadow and reduce the reflections on windows.
  7. Don’t wash your windows!
    Clean windows are more reflective and birds are more likely to fly into them. So if you need an excuse to not wash your windows, here’s an option.
    Adapted from Steering Birds Clear of Windows (Needs Link) by Heidi Ridgley