By Cheryl Conley, TWRC Wildlife Center in Houston
It’s happened to most of us. We hear something hit a window and when we go outside to check it out, we find a little bird laying on the ground. The same thing happens with other shiny objects like chrome car bumpers, car mirrors, grills and gazing balls.
Why do birds fly into these objects? There are a couple of reasons. The most likely explanation is that birds see the reflection of the sky or vegetation and thinking it’s real, try to fly into it. Another reason is that some species are territorial and aggressive and when they see their own reflection, they think it’s a rival and they try to attack it. This happens more frequently during mating season.
It’s estimated that up to 1 billion birds die every year from window strikes but there are things you can do to protect our fine-feathered friends.
- Put tape on your windows. You can purchase reflective tape on Amazon made especially for protecting birds. There are many other sites as well. Just do a general search on how to protect birds from window strikes. Be sure to follow the instructions for correct placement.
- Decals. Companies like Window Alert sell decals specifically made to protect birds from window strikes. They also sell a unique spray that can be applied to your windows. Check other websites as well to get the best price.
- Add screens to your windows. Easy Up Shade (easyupshade.com) offers shades that attach with suction cups so they can be easily removed if needed.
- Get creative and paint your windows with non-toxic tempura paint. You can easily change your artwork with the seasons or for special occasions.
- Close your drapes or blinds.
- If you have feeders near windows, consider moving them away from the windows.
- Place small mesh netting over your windows. You can use a frame to make it easy to hang up and remove. It should be at least 3 inches from the window.
- Collide Scape (collidescape.org) makes a one-way transparent film that allows you to see out but makes the window appear opaque from the outside.
- Install outside sun shades or shutters.
If you find a bird that has hit a window, gently pick it up and examine it for injuries. If there are no apparent injuries and you don’t see any blood, sometimes the bird just needs a few minutes to recover. Place it in the shade in a safe area and watch it. If it hasn’t recovered in 15 minutes, please call us. You may need to bring the bird to us for emergency care. 713-468-TWRC.
Let’s work together to save our wild friends.