Why Birds Fly Into Windows?

Key Takeaways

1. Birds fly into windows due to their inability to recognize glass
2. Reflections on windows can confuse birds
3. Certain times of the year, like migration season, see a higher incidence
4. There are preventive measures to help reduce bird-window collisions

Birds flying into windows is a phenomenon that many of us have witnessed. But why do birds fly into windows? This article will delve into the reasons behind this behavior and what can be done to prevent it.

The Invisibility of Glass to Birds

One of the main reasons birds fly into windows is because they simply don’t recognize glass:

  1. Transparency: Birds don’t understand the concept of glass and may see through it to plants and trees inside, or see a clear path to the other side.
  2. Reflections: Windows, especially those that are highly reflective, can mirror the sky and surrounding foliage, tricking birds into thinking they are flying into open space.

When Birds Are Most Likely to Hit Windows

There are certain times when birds are more likely to fly into windows:

  1. Migration Season: During migration season, inexperienced young birds and fatigued travelers are more likely to collide with windows.
  2. Breeding Season: Birds can also fly into windows during the breeding season, when territorial birds may see their own reflection in a window and attack it, thinking it’s a rival.

Preventive Measures to Reduce Bird-Window Collisions

There are several measures that can be taken to help prevent birds from flying into windows:

  1. Window Decals: Applying decals or stickers to windows can make them more visible to birds.
  2. Window Screens: Installing window screens or netting can help deter birds.
  3. Reducing Reflections: Closing curtains or blinds, or using anti-reflective glass, can help reduce window reflections.

Comparison: Bird-Window Collisions vs. Safe Passage

Preventive measures can significantly reduce bird-window collisions:

Aspect Bird-Window Collisions Safe Passage
Visibility of Glass Low (birds can’t recognize glass) High (preventive measures make the glass visible)
Risk to Birds High (risk of injury or death) Low (birds can safely navigate around windows)
Human Intervention Low (without preventive measures) High (with preventive measures)

Should All Birds Avoid Windows?

While all birds would ideally avoid windows, not all birds have the same risk of colliding with windows. Factors such as species, age, and physical condition can influence a bird’s likelihood of hitting a window.

Questions Answers
Why can’t birds see glass? Birds can’t see glass because it’s transparent or because it reflects the sky and surrounding foliage, making it look like open space.
When are birds most likely to fly into windows? Birds are most likely to fly into windows during migration and breeding seasons.
How can bird-window collisions be prevented? Bird-window collisions can be prevented by making windows more visible to birds, such as by using decals or screens, or by reducing window reflections.


Birds fly into windows primarily because they can’t recognize glass and are fooled by reflections. This behavior is particularly common during migration and breeding seasons. However, by taking preventive measures like using window decals, screens, or anti-reflective glass, we can help make windows more visible to birds and reduce the risk of bird-window collisions.

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