Prevent Injury & Death From Window Strikes

According to a study performed by the Birmingham Zoo on birds and window strikes, an estimated one billion birds die each year from collisions with glass doors or windows!


Birds fly into glass and windows because the reflections look to them like  a clear flight path.  Sometimes a collision is hard enough to stun the bird and knock them unconscious.  Depending on the force of the impact, even if a bird is able to fly away after striking a window, he or she may still die a little while later.

What can you do? Here are some options to help prevent  window strikes:

  • If you feed birds, move feeders to within 1.5 feet of windows. This would help reduce the speed & momentum if they do fly into the glass.
  • Remove inside greenery or houseplants away from windows so birds won’t be tempted to fly toward them.
  • There are many solutions advertised such as cords, tapes or netting that can be hung on the outside of windows; even hawk shaped silhouette stickers and UV stickers – keep in mind though it has been reported that applying single decals to windows is not enough to deter birds because birds only see it as an obstacle to fly around.
  • Try applying visible markings to the entire outside of windows to create a pattern birds can see. Non-toxic tempera paint is available at most art supply and craft stores, and is long-lasting (even in rain). Even a bar of soap could be used to mark on the windows and easily comes off when desired with a damp rag or sponge.

How do I help a bird who has suffered a window strike? 

Locate a box with small air holes and line it with clean cloth or paper towels.  As gently as possible, place the bird into the box and place it in a warm, quiet, dimly lit location away from predators.  Do not offer food or water.

If the impact was not too severe and the bird has no obvious injuries, it might be able to fly after about 30-60 minutes.  If not, contact your local wildlife rehabilitator for advisement.  If Happinest is not local to you, you can find your nearrest animal emergency responder through

Photo of window from 


Hatchling Killdeer
Hatchling Killdeer

“Oh no! That’s a Killdeer” said Sherry, as she looked at the picture sent to her phone.  The sender,  a concerned animal lover,  told Sherry she found this baby bird on the ground and assumed it must have fallen from an above nest.  She could see nothing nearby where a nest would have been, so she placed it in a box and was making plans to bring it to Happinest.

Sherry explained, “That’s a killdeer, they nest on the ground. Can you take it back?”  Sherry sent her a picture and said “Here is what the parents look like.” They often will nest near humans, right on the ground, in grass or gravel. They are frequently found in parking lots, on school roofs, road edges and other spots where you find bare gravel.

Killdeer are a precocial species, meaning their chicks are covered with down, eyes open and walking as soon as they hatch.  They follow the parents right away just like chickens and ducks,  needing  parents for warmth & safety.

The finder told Sherry she was now taking the baby back and she had found several pairs of adults. “Yay,” said Sherry.  “They usually foster each other’s chicks. The mother may act injured. They do that to protect their babies.”

Image Credit:
A Mother Killdeer

Adult Killdeers are well known for a behavior called “the broken wing act.” When they feel threatened or when their offspring are in danger, the parent will try to lure predators – including humans – away from their nest by calling loudly and appearing to be hurt or injured.  They may flail around quite convincingly, limping on one leg and dragging a wing.

“Okay, the baby is going towards one of the adults now. She is doing that hurt thing trying to get me away.  She was within a couple of feet of the baby so I know she saw it.”

“Okay, said Sherry, make sure they reunite. You may need to get further away. Is the baby peeping?”

“Yes, I think it was successful.  Especially since she was acting injured. The mother is sitting on the baby now. That little baby knew right where to go!”

As you can see, in this case, it was a successful reunion for this family of Killdeer.  This situation was a perfect education moment to teach others when it’s right to intervene and when we should trust nature to work it out.

If you ever encounter an orphaned or injured baby bird, here are a couple of things to check before stepping in to help.

  • They need to be kept warm.
  • Do not feed any baby animal. Feeding may harm or even kill the animal that you are trying to protect.
  • Touching the babies does not make parents reject them. All wildlife will take their babies back. Their instinct to parent is stronger than any scent left on the baby.
  • Contact a licensed rehabber who will know what to do.