Each year it is estimated that up to 1 billion birds are killed in North America due to window collisions.
Within Canada alone, 25 million birds are estimated to be killed each year according to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, with up to 90% of the collisions being with residential windows. Birds fly into windows for a number of reasons. They may see the reflection of the skyline or vegetation or they believe it to be an open space to fly through. They have a hard time recognizing there is a barrier there that they can’t go through.
When a bird hits a window, there can be varying degrees of injury depending on how they hit and how hard they hit. Some can be instantly killed, while others may just be stunned, and some end up with head trauma, broken bones, or other injuries that require medical attention. There may also be other underlying medical reasons as to why the bird hit the window in the first place.
When a raptor comes into care at OWL after a window collision, they often arrive poisoned as well. Rat poison and lead poisoning can make raptors disoriented and more likely to run into windows and other objects.
If a bird hits your window, here are some steps you can follow:
- Have someone watch the bird as someone else goes to find a box. The bird will be very vulnerable to predators after it’s window collision.
- Put the bird in a box on some scrunched up tissue, paper towel, or a towel and make sure the box is securely closed. Put the box in quiet place and don’t handle the bird more than necessary.
- Do not give the bird any food or water.
- Phone your local Wildlife Rehabilitation Society.
If you have had a bird collide with your window, you can report it at: https://birdmapper.org/app/
One of OWL’s volunteers and a Bald Eagle. The Bald Eagle had hit and broken through the large window behind them and into the cafe. Notice the reflection on the other window pane.
How You Can Help
To reduce the chances of birds striking windows you can do a variety of things such closing blinds partially or using window decals. There are specific bird friendly tapes and decals available for use. Some of them are ultraviolet and are nearly invisible to a humans eyes and others are visible. Check out our gift shop for a few options on window decals and tape.
For more information, check out these links below:
Read more about light pollution and the effect on different species of migrating birds here: