When designing homes, most of us will naturally prioritize aesthetic. It is unlikely that most of us are aware of the impact modern homes can have on local wildlife. One surprising risk our homes can pose is to the birds in the area; the birds find it difficult to see windows, instead thinking of them as an extension of nature due to the reflection of the glass, thus flying into them. While most birds are able to fly away relatively unharmed, some suffer from serious internal injuries than can lead to unnecessary deaths.
What’s the damage?
It’s shocking to think that up to 1,000,000,000 birds die annually in the US simply from flying into windows, and countless more sustain injuries that could later prove fatal. As a result of this, many precious birds (such as the Warbler) are considered to be under threat. Birds are especially at risk in large cities, where skyscrapers and high rise buildings feature heavily amongst the skyline - in fact, it is the second largest risk to birds in the US after cats. Thankfully, the standards for making buildings bird safe are improving as we become more aware of this issue.
What can I do?
Something we can all help to do is make our windows more visible to birds that will not disrupt our daily lives. If you have children, there’s no reason they can’t get involved, too; you could consider painting patterns on the outside of the window using soap or tempera paint (which is easily purchased from your local craft store) together. These patterns are not only non-toxic, but also won’t be washed off by rain but can easily be removed with a sponge, meaning it can be easily washed away should you no longer need it.
Of course, if you want a more permanent solution, you could consider installing some fixtures such as custom shutters or draperies. If these are closed at night while the lights inside the house are on, it will avoid a lot of confusion for the birds. Shutters could be pulled over the windows completely during the day, still allowing light in and avoiding bird fatalities, while draperies only need to be pulled some way across the window for the bird to realize it is an extension of the house.
With all of these preventative measures, it will be easy to cut down on the number of fatalities caused by our buildings in no time.