Stop Birds Hitting Windows – 5 Tips to Protect Our Feathered Friends
Window collisions are usually worse in spring and fall during migration, with birds flying through less familiar territory, but can happen any time of year. I've put together a list of quick fixes to stop birds hitting windows.
When I was a little girl I had a robin who kept flying into my window all summer long. Every morning, bright and early, I'd hear a bird crash into my bedroom window – no need for an alarm clock.
This spring, I've had two robins take to flying into the windows (mainly the kitchen windows). Thankfully they haven't hurt themselves, but they are quite noisy and I didn't want them to keep at it until they did injure themselves. They inspired this post.
- Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #1 – Bird Scare Tape
- Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #2 – Suncatchers and Window Clings
- Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #3 – Tempera Paint/Window Paint/Soap
- Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #4 – Physical Barriers Outside the Window
- Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #5 – Improvise!
- More Bee and Bird Friendly Articles
Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #1 – Bird Scare Tape
I was surprised to find out that they have tape specifically designed to keep birds from crashing into windows called Bird Scare Tape. It's translucent, so it lets light through, but still provides enough of a visual barrier to stop the birds. You could also use masking tape or painters tape. Place the tape 4 inches apart vertically or two inches apart horizontally.
Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #2 – Suncatchers and Window Clings
I love the look of suncatchers, and they provide an obstruction to view so that the birds are less tempted to fly on in. A suncatcher with crystals will spread its reflections over a wider area (and they look lovely). Window decals to prevent bird strikes like these UV reflective hummingbirds and butterflies can go almost anywhere. Window film is another option, but not as well rated as the window decals.
Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #3 – Tempera Paint/Window Paint/Soap
Any applied coating that will block the light will block the birds. Make decorating the windows that you know are prone to bird impacts a seasonal project for the kids. There are all sorts of window paints available, from large multi-color packs, to easy to use window markers to window art craft kits.
Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #4 – Physical Barriers Outside the Window
Lattice, mesh, screens – anything that will block your view will block the birds, too. This isn't my favorite option because I like my view, but it may be a good fit for your situation.
If you have bird feeders, some sites suggest placing them closer to windows. The idea is that the birds move more slowly closer to the feeders – which avoids high speed window strikes. I'm not sold on the concept, but it may work well under certain conditions.
Stop Birds Hitting Windows Option #5 – Improvise!
Be creative! Use whatever you have at hand to make glass windows visible to birds. I grabbed a wrapper out of the pantry and tacked it up with a piece of scotch tape, and the robins stopped crashing into the window.
Tuck a towel in the top of the window and let it hang down. Put a hanging plant in the window. Your solution doesn't have to be fancy or permanent. Deter birds with what you have on hand or what you find to be attractive in your window.
More Bee and Bird Friendly Articles
Along with our organic gardening information, you may enjoy these posts on our garden allies.
- Homemade Hummingbird Food Recipe and the Best Hummingbird Feeder
- 5 Tips for a Bee Friendly Yard
- Bumblebee – Super Charged Pollinator for Your Yard and Garden
Originally posted 2013, last updated 2019.
All great ideas and I have used most of them! Our younger girls like to decorate for various holidays by making decorations out of construction paper and taping them to the windows. That seems to help too. One point I need to share in regard to the tempera paint idea – there are crayons called “Window Crayons” that are for kids to use to decorate windows. They are great, BUT they are poisonous to animals! Our dog ate a blue one when she was a puppy, we nearly lost her. she swelled up and couldn’t breathe, got listless from struggling. We live 2hrs from a vet. I called Poison Control, they put me through to an animal poison control center (never knew there was such a thing!). They told me to give her Benadryl which thank God I had on hand – Preparedness! – that worked within 5 mins and she could breathe again. Anyway, I know this comment doesn’t really go along with your post but some folks might have these window crayons and yes they certainly do keep the birds away from windows but just make sure the dog doesn’t eat one! 😛 The window crayons are put out by a german company, I think if anyone just googled “window crayons” they’d find them. I bought them from a Waldorf toy catalog, Magic Cabin maybe?
Drill a hole in old CD’s for a string and hang them in the windows – their shiny surfaces moving in the breeze keep birds from hitting windows too.
I have sliding glass doors that we have birds hit, particularly hummingbirds, so I have used long, one inch wide ribbon which I have attached to the top and bottom of the trim with re-configured large paper clips. The ribbon strips are placed several inches apart. They stay put but still have movement. In order to not interfer with our going in and out, I put the ribbon on the stationary door. If you put them on the moving door you would just fasten at the top.
These tips are great for indoor birds too! I have a pet parakeet who gets plenty of time to play outside the cage. I like to keep the curtains open for sunlight and the view, so I hang a few sheer scarves over the window when he’s out to visually break up the blank space so he doesn’t try to fly through and crash!
I hadn’t thought about that. Good idea.
I first tried hanging a couple of small pinecones on string (they actually scratched the window when the wind blew them across the window over and over again).
Then for every 1′ of window width, I taped a piece of gift ribbon a few feet long (slightly curled). It worked great! The duct tape lasted a full year, thru winter snows (and as it began peeling off, the residue scraped off easily for the fresh batch).
A worthy effort!
I bought some semi translucent decals for glass and put them up. Haven’t had a problem since and I got them at the dollar store.
Makes sense – anything to block the view/reflection.
A red tailed hawk flew into our sliding patio door, it was dazed, I picked it up and set it over the railing. It flew away unhurt. It’s a constant battle with us to place something across the windows, we currently have a string of lights across it, it’s working ok. Good article.
i don’t have that problem. my problem is the birds make nests at the top of the siding, just under the roof. i end up with bird crap streaming down the siding. i don’t mind the nests, i just don’t like having to climb up on a ladder to clean off the poop they leave behind. any suggestions?
Yeah, bird poop decorations are not pleasant. Is there anywhere close by that you could set up alternate nesting shelves to try and temp them away? Hosing down the nest as they are building should encourage them to build elsewhere without permanently harming them. I’m guessing barn swallows and mud nests. They love protected overhangs.
I have had this experience many times in my life. I found that if I go outside & look in the trees or gutters or under the eves there is normally a bird nest. Watching closely, I have observed a squirrel or other birds close at hand. I believe , that the parent birds knock on the car, window or anything else that scares away those obstinate uninvited little critters. If the parents use the nest for more clutches throughout the summer, it will continue until babies have flown away.
I bought suncatchers and want to hang them, but some of my windows are very high from the ground–would it work to hang the suncatchers on the inside of the window, or do they have to be on the outside? thanks!
Mine are on the inside. With the wind and weather here, they wouldn’t last long outside.
Anything you can do to make the window look less like it’s a clear path should get the job done.
Yes, the hanging plant suggestion wasn’t a good one because many other sources say that a plant on the inside of a window can be attractive to the bird, thinking it can reach that tempting vegetation and making it look like the “outside,” as well.
The entire south side of our home is covered in windows. Not once has a bird run into windows that have plants in them at high speed. While the plants may look like habitat, they also encourage the birds to slow down – not speed through.
Dont use plants inside the windows , or can confuse birds more
Anything that represents an obstacle will slow them down.
Great ideas. Last spring I had a sparrow repeatedly fly to my bedroom window, peck at it, fly away and back again over and over. The reflection looks like a challenger to their territory. Putting a piece of paper over the window ended the “fight”. Hope your eyes improve soon so you can fully enjoy the new season.
Thanks, Carol. It certainly is frustrating not being able to see quite right, but hopefully I can figure something out that will help, or the doc will have some ideas.
Good Morning Laurie,
I have had hitting my kitchen windows ever since I moved here, that was 8 yrs ago. I am surprised and very pleased that someone finally did the smart thing and looked something up, thank so much. Who knew it would be so easy to stop them.
I hope you can find a solution that works well for both you and the birds.
About 5 years ago I was offered and bought some translucent discs about 5″ diameter to stick on the inside of windows to show birds that there’s something there. Since then the birds haven’t hit my windows and I can still see out perfectly.
Now some neighbours want some but we can’t find anyone who sells them. Any ideas please?
I found something that sounds similar to what you’ve described on amazon – these round anti-collision stickers.
These square ones are less expensive.
There are also more decorative ones that cover larger areas, like these leaves.
Do you mean these? https://amzn.to/2ZHvhRp
Or any of these? https://amzn.to/2ZJ6ICV
We had trouble with a cardinal. Easy fix went to a garden store and bought an owl hung it up on the outside of glass on side with bricks. Works like a charm. We call him Larry. Granddaughter loves it. Now the birds aren’t knocking themselves out. Thanks Harriett from Pennsylvania. PS we live in the middle of 6 acres of trees, bird heaven. ???
Thanks for sharing Larry. 🙂
I too live in Pa. central pa. near PSU. I have done everything to keep robins from flying into our sliding glass door. I have a owl that was placed on a picnic table and the bird killed it!!! The plastic owl ended up dead on the deck, I have put several cd disks on a string and hung them so they blow in the wind, put cardboard over the window and even put a large garden rake over the window…..nothing is working! Someone just today told me to tape newspaper over the window which I’m going to try. My deck is a total mess due to the bird poop…..grrrrr!!