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Stop, Or Reduce, Window Strikes

This is the time of year we begin to hear reports of two distinct “birds at windows” behaviors which escalate in the spring. #1 - birds attacking windows, and #2 - birds flying into windows.  They are two different problems and we have solutions to both. One bright day without provocation or warning, a northern cardinal will began frantically flying at a window, slamming against it repeatedly. If we could observe the scene from the bird's view, the real cause of its hysterics would be clear, we would see what the bird sees; it is seeing its reflection.

Behavior such as this most often occurs from April through August at a time when most birds begin nesting. When a bird selects a nesting site, the immediate area around it becomes its territory and it assertively protects it by driving other birds away with aggressive behavior and calls.

The best solution to the problem is to cover the outside of the window with a non-reflective material such as a sheet of plastic. A medium-weight, plastic painter's drop cloth (available in hardware stores and home centers) works well; it is clear enough to allow light into the room but cloudy enough to eliminate reflection but if that is not possible. We also offer an easy-to-use and effective spray that lays a haze on the window that eliminates reflection. One can covers many windows, $13.50.

The second birds-at-windows problem is when birds fly into windows because they do not know they are there. We call these “window strikes” and they increase in spring because migratory species moving into and through the area are not familiar with their surroundings. One solution is to cover the window with netting a few inches away from the window that buffers their hits, or even simpler apply special decals that are UV sensitive and give the birds a clear warning they are about to fly into something. Birds see a glowing warning while we see only a faint outline. The key is to place enough of the decals to do the job. A typical large picture window needs 10 decals. They are sold in a five pack for $8.95.

See more right here at our website: http://www.jjcardinal.com/products.htm#windowalert

Louise Dawson
on behalf of the the Naturalists at J.J. Cardinals

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J.J. Cardinal's Wild Bird & Nature Store ®
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12830 S. Saginaw St., Grand Blanc, MI  48439  810-695-8733
originally posted March 20, 2016  illustrations, text & fun © J.J. Cardinal's 1992-2016
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