How to reduce bird strikes on windows?

Well, this is not exactly a photographic question, but it is a worthy issue to consider since many of us have bird feeders around our homes, appreciate birds, and enjoy photographing birds. It makes sense for us to take measures to reduce bird strikes on windows. Some estimates indicate that 365 million to a billion birds are killed annually in the U.S. from striking windows. Grim!

Birds often do not see glass as a barrier and think the refection in the glass is a continuation of their natural environment. We used to have several birds collide with our glass (mainly the sliding glass door) every year. Some died, and others were stunned and apparently recovered. After doing some research, I found a window decal with a geometric pattern that reflects UV light (which birds can see but we can’t). We placed two of these 6-inch square films on our glass door four years ago, and since then we have not found any bird dead birds on our deck.  I can’t be sure that the devices have eliminated all bird collisions, but it seems to have provided a significant improvement. Interestingly, before we installed the decal, we had more problems with Pine Siskins hitting the glass and dying than any other species even though they are not nearly as common in our neighborhood as other species.  

The window decals we placed on our glass are made by Bird’s Eye View and the geometric design reflects UV light in multiple directions and seem to work well at alerting birds about the glass barrier. We used the 6-inch size which are easily attached to the glass with water and a squeegee. The film can be removed at any time and does not reduce our visibly much.

There are other products such as tape, netting, hanging strings, and paint that can be used on or over windows. Research indicates that just about any patterns or lines on the glass will help. Some newer commercial buildings are using dichroic glass which produces reflections of different colors as the angle of light changes.  Birds seem to respond to this and avoid this type of glass.

Keep in mind that losing a bird during the nesting season may result in the loss of an entire family.