I am staying at vacation rental owned by a friend on the coast here in Ecuador. They have a super cute little 2/3 house they did a wonderful remodel on…
Long story short, the owners installed polarized UV resistant windows (because its sunny AF here sometimes, just not now)
Here’s the deal, the windows on the front of the house are practically mirrors, and apparently a magnet for birds who see their reflection and thus fly at and peck the windows…
The blue-gray tanagers in the area somewhat chill, they just land and peck at the windows, however, superciliated wrens don’t play around and it seems like they almost “attack” the windows.
I’ve read a lot of info from western bird resources that suggest applying decals, ect. to the window in the form of predators (raptors) but I’ve read reports this does little to alleviate the issue…
Do you know of any effective techniques for deterring birds from attacking the windows? Especially in coastal areas…
One thing that complicates the whole thing is the fact that there’s a huge beautiful tree that provides shelter and food for a ton of different species (including the green honeycreeper I saw a few days ago!!) so I think it’s important that a concrete solution be devised as this spot is evidently very popular with the peepers, additionally a large native chili plant (tree) is on site but it usually patronized by only Tropical Kingbirds, Mockingbirds and Blackbirds…
Putting bird spikes on the window sill should help.
When researching ways to prevent birds from crashing into glass surfaces on modern buildings, I recall reading a Swiss report some years ago that showed that rather than sticking black silhouettes of raptors on the surface, vertical yellow-red stripes worked much better in keeping the birds away. Best results were obtained when said vertical stripes were applied at a distance of about 10-15cm from each other. Which may not go down so well with the occupants of the house, though, as it may seem to them to be in jail…
I recommend www.decorativefilm.com .
I have some extra film if you need it. I live in Albuquerque, New Mexico and love Ecuador !!
I’ve heard that for male cardinals attacking their reflections in car windows during the breeding season, you can rub soap on the windows until the birds settle down with young. Not sure if your friends would want to do that though since it would probably make the windows hard to see out of.
Are the birds getting hurt/killed on the windows?
Can’t find the report now, but the site of vogelwarte.ch has the following suggestions to prevent bird collision:
- Only markings that have a large surface area and stand out from the surrounding area provide the necessary protection.
- Solutions with stripes are very effective; vertical lines are at least 5 mm wide at a maximum distance of 10 cm, horizontal lines at least 3 mm wide at a maximum distance of 5 cm.
- Use adhesive foils or tapes of good quality (e.g. strips for car tuning)
- Markings should be applied on the outside whenever possible.
Caution: foils can cause tension in the window panes, which in exceptional cases can lead to glass breakage; if in doubt, contact the glass manufacturer.
Under certain circumstances, good effects can also be achieved by the following (always apply on the outside, if possible):
- light curtains, blinds, roller blinds, cord tapes, foil tapes
- colored decorations, drawings with finger & window paints
- company logos, shop window decorations, decorative sprays
- grids, mosquito nets, nylon cords, cotton threads, coarse-meshed strong nets or perforated sheets
- strip curtains in winter gardens
Another (bad?) idea, perhaps they could install one-way film on the inside of the windows so that the windows would be mirrors of the inside, not of the birds outside.
I used Window Alert, special reflective cut outs (supposedly in wavelengths birds see) when I was having bird strikes.
These work really well. They are cheap and easy to apply to the outside of the window. I’m not sure I would attach them directly over a film. Hopefully, your film is on the inside.
(there are several brands, this is the one I used)
I couple weeks ago I found a deceased streaked saltator on the opposite side of the property (maybe 20ft away from the windows) my guess is that it hit the window, and had one finally sally accross the yard and blacked out.
Fortunately, quality graphics printing is a huge industry here and thus very affordable if that is a solution.
There’s a British birder who claims to have worked out an easy, low-cost solution:
The markers are white latex finetips and available through Amazon or maybe a local craft store.
We were going to try this out this year but first we thought we’d just try leaving the blinds up until the sun rose a bit as we noticed strikes only happened near sunrise.
That seems to work. No problems since we added closing our blinds before bed. But for mirror finish window coatings, it might be worth trying the lines.
The explanation is that the white lines read as spider webs which birds (all of them?) really avoid flying through.
Yes, that’s sad. I was saddened when I saw the little songbirds in my yard mistake the window for a continuation of the shrubbery they were so fond of around the patio. It wasn’t too uncommon for a little stunned bird awaken and shakily fly off after a few moments, but I did not think they necessarily survived long.
The window clings (linked above) reduced the incidence of those bird strikes to almost nothing. One $7 packet included enough of the specialty clings to cover the large kitchen window.
I’m not sure if this would stop birds pecking at/attacking windows, but it’s pretty much eliminated window strikes on our windows: https://artscape-inc.com/products/6-bird-deflector
They look cool, too. They are applied on the inside of the window.
For other windows we hung parallel lengths of paracord which also worked very well.
As I read this, birds aren’t STRIKING the windows and injuring themselves, but are attacking their reflections in the mirrored glass.
Most responses here seem to deal with strikes …
Only solution we found was hanging sparkly Xmas tinsel down from above the window to dangle and swing in the breeze. Lasted long enough through the early breeding season to deter the aggro birds, but had to be replaced after heavy rain - and annually, of course.
Didn’t look great, but saved our sleep - and a lot of wasted energy for the birds.
Not at all. That is against perching city pigeons.
We have horizontal burglar bars across our opening windows. No bird strikes.
Where we have fixed panes we do have bird strikes. In theory anything that prevents birds thinking they can fly ‘thru the reflection’ works. Blinds, creepers, decals …
But haven’t had birds attacking their reflection. If there is a particular point they attack, maybe a decal there?
I saw a long-tailed tit bump into a window and just continuing the flight, but also daw dozens of birds with broken necks/brain bleeding who die instantly or some time later. Dead saltator is definitely a strike victim, it’s hard to die attacking the mirror, there was a wagtail doing it for days instead of feeding chicks, but he was still ok after.
I agree, it sounds like there may be some bird strikes, but the primary issue sounds like attacks due to the mirroring, not the strikes. If there’s a large tree in front, this should cut down on strikes. To the best of my knowledge, many of the methods mentioned here do indeed reduce strikes - the main caveat is that the visual disruptors need to be placed quite close together to discourage strikes (ie, a high density of silhouette decals, etc).
Something that disrupts the mirroring effect (like the soap or tinsel) may cut down on the fighting, but also of course reduces visibility out the windows. If many of the “fights” occur near the sill, I would at least try the spikes as they are pretty unobtrusive and resident birds will quickly learn to avoid that.
It’s definitely the attacking that’s the problem. Tinsel is a smart idea, I have seen this utilized on vineyards in South Africa to deter birds from the grape vines…
There is a huge tree in the front yard,maybe that draws them in here. Also in the area there’s been a lot of new construction and property development, clearing large tracts of land that was possibly their nesting areas, this could explain why the numbers are so concentrated here.
Thanks all for the replies and advice, we dont have access to a lot specialized products here, however it is very affordable to purchase custom decals or stickers here, I just want to make sure the effort is best utilized.
For birds actively attacking their reflections, it can difficult to dissuade them. I have seen a Chaffinch attacking a wing mirror of a car who returned even after the mirror was bent closed, to squeeze between the gap and continue pecking, because he knew his adversary was still in there.
This, however, sounds more like an unintentional collision by a bird in flight:
American Bird Conservancy has some good materials on their website. Inspired by that information, I have installed a home-made version of Acopian Birdsavers (Zen wind curtains), made of dark green paracord, on the main windows of my house, and while it has only been a few months, have not had any further collisions so far.
Sounds like a good plan. Bird spikes are basically just pieces of stiff, blunt wire mounted in any easy to position strip of material. You could probably cobble together some cheap ones with a strip of thin wood or other material and a roll of stiff wire cut to length (or even some unwound paperclips). If a prototype works, it might justify investing time/money in placing more. Good luck!