Window Woes and Traveling Birds

By Gretchen Nareff, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Imprint of a bird in building window by Pedro Ramirez, Jr. / USFWS

Find a Stunned Bird?

Follow this advice.

Photos used with permission by Melissa Marshall

Why Did That Bird Hit My Window?

The short answer: Reflection.

Reflections on buildings can be indistinguishable from the sky. Photo by Chris Deets/USFWS

And Now the Personal Story and the Harsh Reality

Imagine walking into your two-story office building in the morning and seeing bright blue, yellow, or orange bodies scattered in front of the shrubbery. That happened to me for a few weeks during the peak of spring migration last year. I frequently found dead Indigo Buntings, Nashville and Tennessee Warblers, hummingbirds, and Baltimore Orioles. As a wildlife biologist whose primary job is conservation of birds, it is devastating to work in a building that kills migratory songbirds.

Collision deaths by Gretchen Nareff

Ideas for Helping the Birds

There are several options for making the windows of existing buildings or homes more bird-friendly.

Wind curtains installed at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by USFWS
Left: Before — see the reflection? Right: After — Photos by Lynne Parks
Patuxent Research Refuge has added some attractive window treatments to decrease bird strikes. Photo: Jen Chin/USFWS

We’re dedicated to the conservation, protection and enhancement of fish, wildlife and plants, and their habitats.

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