How to Keep Birds From Flying into Windows: Why They Do it and How to Stop This

bird on metal pipe

According to the American Bird Conservancy, a billion birds die each year following window hits in the U.S. As such, this is one of the costliest threats for the bird populations. Luckily, people found how to keep birds from flying into windows, and there are plenty of solutions for that. Today we are going to understand more about why is this happening and how to prevent it.

Why Are Birds Flying into Windows?

There are three main types of windows collisions:

1. Daytime Collisions

In daylight, the main reason for which birds crash into windows is that they see through the glass vegetation or potted plants. Alternatively, they also see reflections of vegetation found outside or simply the sky. As such, they get confused and imagine that they have a clear flight path ahead of them. And it’s a mistake that is very dangerous for birds: more than half of the birds who hit the windows die from the injuries or because another animal attacked them when they were injured on the ground.

close up of symmetrical glass panel windows

2. Nighttime Collisions

The process is the same as with the daytime collisions, except that the reason is different. At night, the nocturnal migrants, such as songbirds, are lured to the windows by the lights. The process here isn’t completely understood by experts, but it seems that the lights inside divert the birds from the initial path. This happens even more in foggy or low-ceiling conditions. Once they reach the lighted structure, they tend to mill about. Sometimes they collide with each other or with the structure.

3. Attack Collisions

To know better how to keep birds from flying into windows, we need to understand the third cause of this phenomenon. Sometimes, birds see their own reflection in a window and start attacking it. Such cases occur mostly in spring when there is a high territoriality. Even though it can be a problem for the owner, it’s not threatening for the birds’ survival.

bird flying between skyscrapers

How to Keep Birds from Flying into Windows – Solutions

1. Identify the Dangerous Windows

The first step you need to take when learning how to keep birds from flying into windows is to identify the dangerous areas. Not all windows might be threatening for them, and it’s no use investing in a solution for all the windows if that’s not necessary. Large picture windows or the ones that are paired at a right angle to another are potential areas of collision. Windows with feeders outside are also a problem. The surest way to identify the areas is to go outside and look at your windows from the bird’s perspective. If you are seeing branches or trees that are reflected in the glass, or that can be seen through it, the birds will see that as well.

2. Move the Feeders

Many birds are killed by the feeders people place outside. A good suggestion if you want to know how to keep birds from flying into windows is to move the feeders either closer or farther from the window. In this way, you will interfere with the regular flight path of the birds and make them slow down. However, this is a solution only for the birds who eat from there. For those who don’t, you need to have a look at the following solutions as well.

3. Use Strips of Tape

Another solution would be to apply strips of tape on the outside of the windows. Ideally, you should use some white tape that can resist through wind and rain. Place the tape 4” apart and set it vertically on the windows. This will make the birds realize that there is some glass there. Thus, they will not fly into it anymore.

You can also choose black tape for this, but in this case, you should space them 1” apart. The specialty tape is available at pet stores everywhere, just ask at the nearest one.

4. Use Bird Decals

If you’ve tried the above and nothing worked, don’t worry. There are still other solutions to how to keep birds from flying into windows. One of them is to apply bird decals on the outside of your window glass. Bird decals or stickers are a quick and easy way of bird proofing the windows. Keep in mind that you need to place the decals close together. Try to maintain one hand’s distance away from each other. However, don’t place just one or two, but create a pattern.

Just like the special stripes, there are bird decals available at pet or bird-feeding stores. There are different silhouettes you can choose from, such as robin or hawk ones. Ideally, you should use decals colored in an ultraviolet spectrum. Thus, they will be transparent for us, but visible to the birds.

5. Use Ultraviolet Glass

If you’re looking for a permanent answer to how to keep birds from flying into windows, a solution is to switch the glass you have for an ultraviolet, patterned one. This type of glass comes together with some crisscross patterns that can’t be noticed by humans. However, birds can see them from the outside. It is indeed one of the most expensive solutions, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for a permanent idea. You can find it in specialty home, furniture stores, or you can order it online.

If you haven’t installed windows in your home yet, or you plan to reinstall them soon, try to go for slightly tilted ones. Ask the contractor to place them vertically and facing downward. This lets the window reflect the ground instead of the sky and the trees.

close up of a bird decal placed on a window
Bird decal used for keeping birds away from windows.

6. Use Soap or Window Paint

Yet another suggestion for those who want to know how to keep birds from flying into windows is to apply soap or window paint on the outside surface of the windows. This will create a film that will be noticeable for birds. However, this method requires you to apply the soap several times a week for the film to be maintained.

Window or tempera paints work as well. In fact, you can turn this into a fun project and make some bright and bold patterns with the paint. Make sure you cover most of the surface of the windows, if not all. Leave no clean or transparent areas that can invite birds to fly into.

7. Add a Net or Window Screens

If you go to a specialty shop, you can find there various bird screens and nets to help you keep birds away from your windows. Try to find a bird screen made of dark mesh, which you can hang over the windows. Get creative and customize your mesh so that it covers the windows adequately. Also, try using some bird netting made of polypropylene, which is durable and lightweight. Hang it two inches from the windows.

8. Suspend Tree Branches

The whole point here is to break up the ability of a glass surface to reflect the surroundings. For this purpose, you can suspend tree branches in front of the windows with a higher risk of being struck. Try doing this in a manner that will cover well the pane of the glass, but not cut off your view completely.

9. Spray Fake Snow

This is a good idea if you live in a snowy area or you love winter. A light coating of fake snow will have the same effect of annihilating the reflective ability the window has. However, try not to overdo it if you don’t want to dream of a white Christmas all day long.

close up of a pigeon on a city landscape

10. Set Up Balloons

A good idea is to get the long-lasting metallic-looking Mylar balloons if you’re familiar with them already. You can choose whatever type of balloon you want, with a message, in various colors, etc. The shiny balloons need to be set next to the windows. They will flap around in the breeze, thus spooking birds from coming too close to the windows.

11. Use Feathers

For unknown reasons, hanging feathers in front of the window will keep birds at bay. As such, it’s a good idea to string bird feathers around 8 inches apart on a fishing line. Then, string them vertically across the windows that get struck regularly. Some say that birds will stop coming to the windows because they see the feathers as an evidence of predation or they fear it. Regardless of the reason behind it, it’s worth a shot to see if this will solve your problem.


Learning how to keep birds from flying into windows is no difficult thing, but you need to ponder on it before deciding. Besides, it depends on how far you are willing to go to keep the birds alive and your windows clean. Some people are fine with spraying their windows or sticking several bird decals on them, while others think it’s okay to replace the glass entirely. In any case, there is a solution for everybody.

Images source: Pixabay

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