What happens when a bird hits a window?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

When a bird collides with a window, the impact is often fatal. It doesn’t matter whether the bird is big or small, the high speeds at which they fly can cause severe damage upon impact. The force of the collision can cause internal injuries, broken bones, or even instant death. It’s a heartbreaking sight to witness a bird hitting a window, as their delicate bodies are not built to withstand such a force.

If a bird does manage to survive the immediate impact, it is usually left stunned and disoriented. They may lie on the ground, unable to fly or move properly. This state of confusion makes them vulnerable to predators, such as domestic cats, which may quickly seize the opportunity to attack and kill the injured bird. It’s a tragic chain of events that often occurs after a window collision.

One might wonder why birds collide with windows in the first place. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, birds have excellent eyesight, but they may not perceive the presence of glass. Windows can reflect the surrounding environment, creating an illusion of open space or continuation of their flight path. This confusion can lead to birds flying straight into the window, thinking it’s a clear path forward.

Additionally, during certain times of the year, birds may mistake reflections in windows for potential mates or territorial rivals. They may engage in aggressive behaviors towards their own reflections, repeatedly flying towards the window in an attempt to defend their territory or court a potential mate. This mistaken perception can result in multiple collisions, causing harm to the bird and distress to onlookers.

As someone who loves birds, it’s disheartening to witness these incidents. I’ve had a few personal experiences with bird-window collisions, and it’s always a devastating sight to see a bird lying motionless on the ground. I’ve tried to help by carefully picking up the stunned bird and placing it in a safe, quiet area away from predators. However, the outcome is often grim, as the injuries sustained from the collision are severe.

To prevent these accidents from happening, there are a few measures we can take. One option is to place decals, stickers, or tape on the outside of the window. These visual cues can help birds recognize the presence of a barrier and avoid collisions. Additionally, keeping window blinds or curtains partially closed can reduce the reflection and make the window more visible to birds.

When a bird hits a window, the consequences are often dire. The impact itself can be fatal, and even if the bird survives, it is left vulnerable to predators. It’s a tragic and distressing event that highlights the importance of taking preventive measures to make windows more visible to birds.