Beyond Your Backyard - Bird Window Strikes
By Kimberly J. Epp
A lot of people have asked me recently about how to prevent birds from hitting their windows. Birds hit windows because they see the reflection of the sky in them. If that reflection is broken up, you can prevent this from occurring.
You can buy or make decals, hang streamers, put your blinds down, use window film, or even put up window feeders. A combination of these works best. Plant a tree or bush in front of your window. Anything that breaks up that reflection will be helpful.
If a bird hits your window, it can go into shock. In winter, it can quickly freeze when in shock. Scoop it up and put it into a dark box until it recovers or hold it in your cupped hand if it is a smaller bird. The warmth and darkness helps it come out of shock. Otherwise a cat, crow or other predator may see it as an easy meal. Once the bird starts squirming, you can release it.
One winter, a male Common Redpoll hit the window at Beaver Creek while we were having a staff meeting in the lobby. I quickly ran out and scooped him up. I held him in my cupped hand for a half hour before he finally came out of shock. I opened the door, opened my hand, and off he flew. Another bird hit a window during the summer, and before I could scoop him up a gopher retrieved him. Yes, a gopher!
I was saddened by several bird strikes, and so I put up more decals. Thereafter, I also got a grant for bird feeders and bird seed. Along with the decals, I put up window feeders and feeders along the rail, which caught the birds attention before seeing the window. During this time, no strikes occurred. But I did have to go in every Saturday to make and bake suet treats!
My current home has no issue with bird strikes as there is a large tree in front of the window. Trees can make the best window strike deterrents. There are many things you can do, but please do something. If a bird dies from a window strike, please contact your local wildlife rehabber as many keep count of these numbers and of the species affected.
In the case of a bird strike injury, call the wildlife hotline at (306) 242-7177 for a rehabber in your area. If the bird cannot be saved, at least it will be humanely euthanized. Prevention, however, is always the best way!
Epp is an Environmental Educator and writer and is also the President and Field Trip Coordinator of the Moose Jaw Nature Society. She can be reached on the MJNS Facebook page or at firstname.lastname@example.org.