Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows? Reasons and How to Help

Did you know that millions of birds die in building collisions? A study shows that 365-988 million birds die annually after flying into a window. These numbers are only for the United States!

Considering that urbanization destroyed much of their natural habitat, birds learn to adapt to their new environment. However, some things are past them, including window reflections and lights. 

Birds fly into windows because they do not see the actual glass – they only see the landscape reflection (which is not perceived as a reflection) or what’s behind the glass. Nocturnal birds seem to be attracted and, at the same time, confused by window lights. Additionally, birds may see their reflection and fly right into it.

If you want to learn more details and how to help an injured bird, keep reading!

Why are Birds Fly into Windows

Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows?

Birds cannot perceive reflections. So, during the day, they see windows as just a continuation of whatever they reflect – the sky, the park, the street, or anything else in front of them. Therefore, they do not actually understand that they’re flying into something that can injure and kill them.

Even if the bird doesn’t focus on the reflection itself and focuses on what’s behind the glass instead, it will perceive the space of the building as a safe area to fly into. In short, it will see the window reflection and the space behind the glass but not the window itself.

Besides this, if two windows on opposite sides of the building are located face to face, the bird will perceive them as clear passages toward whatever is on the other side of the building.

Nocturnal birds or those on a nocturnal migratory route, on the other hand, usually fly into lighted windows because they both attract and confuse them, although scientists aren’t yet entirely sure of the reason behind it.

Another reason behind this perplexing behavior is that birds may see their own reflection in the window, perceive it as a threat, and try to attack it. This occurs often during the spring when birds become highly territorial around the breeding season.

Some of the most common birds that people see hitting windows are bluebirds, robins, cardinals, and birds, although any bird flying around urban areas is at risk of building collisions. 

How To Prevent Birds From Hitting Windows?

The key to protect birds from hitting windows is to make the glass visible. You can do so by fixing an object on the outside of the window. This will make birds stop before flying into it because they notice the obstacle.

The obstacle can be anything from stickers, sun catchers, and masking tape to the so-called zen blinders or closely spaced ropes you can hang over your windows. Installing screens or netting can help as well.

Another excellent way to prevent birds from hitting your windows and protect them from imminent death is by installing external shutters. Not only will they protect the birds, but they will also help keep your house cool in the summer. Interior vertical blinds are also an option!

One important aspect to consider is turning off unnecessary lights during the night. Interior blinds or external shutters will help hide the light if it’s turned on.

A Bird Hit My Window – What to Do?

If a bird hits your window, you should first examine how injured it is. Place the bird in a shoebox and leave it in a quiet, shady place to calm down. Avoid handling it or providing it with food or water.

After 15-20 minutes, take the box outside. Step aside and let the bird explore its surroundings. If it feels alright, the bird may fly off after a while. If it doesn’t, take it back inside and repeat the process several times. If the bird doesn’t feel better, you should call the nearest wildlife rehabilitation center. The team will guide you on what to do next.

Remember that since many building collisions cause internal bleeding and head injuries, the bird may look fine and fly off, but the symptoms or complications can appear later. Therefore, if you’re not 100% sure that the bird is alright, you should call a wildlife rehabilitation center immediately.

Why Do Birds Fly Into Windows? Spiritual Meaning

Birds are widely regarded as symbols of freedom, joy, spirituality, grace, and strength. Therefore, seeing one flying into your window must be quite a disturbing experience. What does it mean? Does this unfortunate event carry an important message you should decipher?

Some people regard this as a sign of imminent changes, especially if the bird that hit the window was a dove. On the other hand, other interpretations are linked to financial problems and bad luck. The latter is most often associated with blackbirds, as they’re regarded as symbols of ill news and death.

Obviously, the meaning of such an event highly depends on whether the bird survived or not upon the collision.

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