How To Stop Birds From Flying Into Windows

Windows are a silent and deadly enemy of birds: It is estimated that about 1 billion birds are killed each year after colliding with windows. Even more birds are seriously injured. What is it about windows that make them so deadly for birds?

Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows?

Deceiving Reflections

Glass buildings and the clean windows of your home can reflect their surroundings. Instead of a solid structure, birds see the reflection of the sky or the trees facing a building. This can cause a bird to fly straight at a window, resulting in a deadly headfirst crash.


On occasion, birds may spy something they want on the other side of a clear window, such as food, water or even a potential nesting site. Unfortunately, this could tempt a bird to fly into a pane of glass in an attempt to reach the desired item.

Lights at Night

Most of the migratory birds in North America travel at night, using the stars to help guide their way. Scientists have discovered that when lights are visible in glass buildings at night, they can cause birds to deviate from their natural migratory routes and to crash into windows.

The number of birds killed by windows at night is not insignificant. One researcher reported that he would find hundreds of dead migrating birds each morning outside just one building in Chicago.

In Defense of Territory

During the spring, you may notice that a bird will purposefully attack a window. This happens because some birds will mistake their reflection for a rival and then attack their own image, often with great persistence.

How to Stop Birds From Flying Into Windows

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to prevent future bird strikes against your window. Most of these involve making the clear or reflective glass more noticeable to birds, so that they can take evasive action instead of crashing into your windows. The following are a few suggestions on how to stop birds from flying into windows:

  • Hang strips of holographic tape on your windows. This reflective tape is easy to install and works in several ways to keep birds away and aware of windows. The tape reflects lights, which can spook birds. It also makes a metallic sound when it flaps in the wind. Finally, the movement of the tape alone is often all you need to prevent a bird flying into the window.
  • Install bird netting or screens over your windows. Netting and screens make windows less reflective and, should a bird still strike your window, they can possibly cushion the blow and save its life.
  • Add Zen curtains — also known as Acopian bird savers — to the outside of your windows. These curtains are made of lengths of paracords that are spaced about 4 inches apart. The Zen curtain creates a visual barrier that birds won’t want to fly through.
  • Use optical deterrent cups to prevent birds hitting the window. These cups contain a substance that creates a fire-like glow that only birds can see because of their ability to recognize UV light. Birds will want to avoid this “fire,” and will stay away from your glass.
  • Cover your window in decals to prevent a bird flying into your house. To be most effective, the decals need to be placed close together, so that birds won’t try to fly between them.
  • Turn off lights in glass buildings at night. This is a very simple yet effective way to keep migratory birds from being lured to their death.
  • Move feeders and bird baths away from windows. Some experts recommend that they should be placed at least 30 feet away from a home. This gives a bird a better chance to recognize that your windows are part of a larger structure.

By following one or more of these suggestions, you could possibly save the lives of countless birds. Another positive? You could also save yourself the cost of having to replace an expensive pane of glass.

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