Backyard Chirper

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The Importance of Protecting Birds from Windows

Last week I posted about the potential risks wind farms pose to unsuspecting birds, and while researching the topic, I came across an alarming statistic that anywhere between 100 million and a billion birds die each year from flying into glass windows.

Windows and glass may very well be the number one cause of non-natural bird deaths. Though some birds tend to crash into glass windows of homes, the biggest culprit are reflective skyscrapers and condominium towers.

The Audubon Society of Portland is currently gathering evidence on just how many birds Portland area buildings kill each year.

One of the main reasons why birds fly into windows or buildings is because glass is reflective. Windows that reflect the sky, trees and natural landscapes are the deadliest because birds may be inclined to fly toward them.

The city of Toronto has actually created guidelines on how to develop bird-friendly structures, which should be a model of future building codes.

Casual backyard birders are not helpless in lowering these extremely high numbers. There are a variety of things you can do to help prevent wild birds from unwittingly crashing into your glass windows.

For example, turn your window into a picture by painting, cover it with netting or get a special window flap to combat the illusion of an open space.

By doing just one of these things, you lower the risk of birds flying into glass windows.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.


  1. I agree with you that windows are probably the most common cause of birds’ death in North America. I know that lesser gold finches, white winged dove,chickadee and titmouse have hit the windows that face my back deck. But usually when I go out to see them they fly off after getting just stunned momentarily. This because my bird feeders are not too far from the house thus not flying at top speed when the collusion occurs.

  2. That’s a good solution to preventing birds from being seriously injured when crashing into windows. That’s just one of the suggestions I wrote about in an article on ways to protect birds from windows at

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