Some Great Tips to Prevent Birds From Flying Into Windows

Steve Byland /


Connecting state and local government leaders

Check out this public information campaign in Portland, Oregon.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Wide expanses of windows on buildings can often be deadly to birds, which sometimes cannot tell the difference between open space and reflective glass.

Approximately 1 billion birds die annually in window strikes across the United States, according to the Audubon Society of Portland, which cares for 200 to 300 birds injured by bird strikes.

While checking out the Portland Department of Parks and Recreation’s Southwest Community Center and Pool on Friday, I stumbled upon a great public information campaign about why birds fly into windows and how to prevent collisions.

Among the reasons why birds fly into windows, according to the information display outside the building entrance area (photo below):

  • “Window reflections show sky and trees that birds see as a clear flight path through the glass.”
  • “Landscape seen through an opposite window appears to birds as a continuation of the outdoors.”
  • “Artificial lights confuse and attract night-migrating songbirds, and can result in fatal collisions.”
  • “In defense of their breeding territories, birds may attack their own reflections in the glass.”

And tips for preventing bird strikes?

  • Reduce reflections by using “one-way non-reflective films on outside of windows,” incorporating “recessed windows into building designs” and "treat glass with non-reflective surfaces or etched designs”
  • Create soft surfaces for birds outside of windows by using screens all year long and attaching small-mesh netting 2-3 inches from the glass.
  • And create visual barriers by putting obstacles in front of windows, like hanging old CDs or wind chimes. Also, “dirty windows save lives,” which might be a good way to save money for a cash-strapped municipality.
(Photo by Michael Grass /

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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