What To Do When A Bird Hits Your Window

Birds hitting windows is an unfortunately common occurrence, especially during migration seasons. If a bird has collided with one of your windows, it can be scary and you likely want to help the animal as best as you can.

Here’s a quick answer if you’re short on time: Gently pick up the bird and place it in a cardboard box lined with a towel. Keep the box in a warm, dark, quiet place to allow the bird to recover from shock. After an hour, take the box outside and open it; the bird should fly away if it has recovered.

If not, contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center for additional care.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about what to do when a bird hits your window. You’ll learn why window collisions happen, how to assess an injured bird, the proper way to handle and contain the animal, when to seek professional wildlife rehabilitator assistance, and how to prevent future collisions at your home.

Why Do Bird Window Collisions Occur?

Bird window collisions can be a distressing sight, and understanding the reasons behind these incidents can help us take preventive measures. Here are a few common reasons why birds collide with windows:

Mistaking Glass for Sky or Trees

One of the primary reasons birds collide with windows is that they mistake the glass for the sky or trees. This confusion often occurs when birds are flying at high speeds or when there is poor visibility due to weather conditions.

The transparent nature of glass can cause birds to misjudge their surroundings, leading to unfortunate collisions.

Reflections in Glass

Another reason for bird window collisions is the presence of reflections in glass surfaces. Birds may see their own reflection or the reflection of nearby trees, plants, or sky in the glass and perceive it as a safe passage.

This can cause them to fly directly into the window, thinking they are flying towards open space.

Unable to Perceive Glass

Birds have a different visual perception than humans, and they may not be able to perceive glass as a solid barrier. This can be attributed to the fact that glass reflects and refracts light in a way that can be confusing for birds.

They may not recognize the presence of an obstacle until it’s too late, resulting in collisions.

It’s important to note that bird window collisions can have serious consequences for both the birds and the windows. To prevent these incidents, there are various solutions available, such as applying window decals or films that make the glass more visible to birds.

Additionally, placing objects like hanging strips or wind chimes near windows can help break up reflections and deter birds from flying into them.

For more information on bird window collisions and preventative measures, you can visit https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/why-birds-hit-windows-and-how-you-can-help-prevent-it/.

Assessing an Injured Bird After a Collision

When a bird collides with your window, it can be distressing for both the bird and yourself. It’s important to assess the situation calmly and take appropriate action. Here are some steps to help you assess an injured bird after a collision:

Check for External Injuries

Start by carefully approaching the bird to avoid causing further stress. Look for any visible signs of injury such as cuts, bruises, or broken wings. If you notice any bleeding, it’s essential to handle the bird with care and seek immediate veterinary assistance if possible.

Remember, birds have delicate bones, so it’s best to leave handling to professionals if you’re unsure.

Look for Signs of Internal Injuries

In some cases, a bird may not have any visible external injuries, but it could still be suffering from internal injuries. Observe the bird’s behavior closely. If it appears disoriented, unable to balance, or is breathing heavily, it may indicate internal injuries.

It’s crucial to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or a veterinarian who specializes in avian care for further guidance.

Determine If the Bird is Alive

One of the first things to ascertain is whether the bird is alive or not. Gently approach the bird and observe its breathing patterns. Look for any movement or response to touch. If the bird is unresponsive and not breathing, it may have succumbed to its injuries.

In such cases, it’s important to handle the bird respectfully and contact the appropriate authorities to ensure proper disposal.

Remember, attempting to assess and address an injured bird’s condition should only be done if you feel comfortable and confident in doing so. If you are unsure or concerned about causing further harm, it’s always best to seek professional help.

Wildlife rehabilitation centers and avian veterinarians are well-equipped to handle these situations and provide the necessary care for injured birds.

Handling and Containing an Injured Bird

Use Proper Protective Gear

When handling an injured bird, it’s important to protect yourself and the bird. You should wear gloves to avoid direct contact with the bird and to prevent any potential transfer of diseases. Additionally, if you have a face mask or goggles, it’s a good idea to wear them to protect yourself from any potential bites or scratches.

Gently Pick Up the Bird

Approach the injured bird slowly and calmly. Birds can become stressed easily, so it’s important to move slowly and avoid sudden movements. Gently pick up the bird using both hands, making sure to support its body and wings.

Be careful not to squeeze or put too much pressure on the bird, as this may cause further harm.

Place in a Box Lined with Towels

Prepare a box for the injured bird by lining it with soft towels or a cloth. This will provide a comfortable and secure environment for the bird. Make sure the box is large enough for the bird to move around but not too spacious that it can get injured by hitting the sides.

Keep the box closed to prevent the bird from escaping or injuring itself further.

Keep the Box in a Quiet, Dark, Warm Place

After placing the injured bird in the box, it’s crucial to provide a suitable environment for its recovery. Find a quiet and dark area of your home where the bird can rest without disturbances. Avoid placing the box near loud noises or bright lights.

Additionally, ensure that the room is warm, as birds require a stable temperature to maintain their body heat.

Remember, it’s important to contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center or a veterinarian who specializes in avian care as soon as possible. They will have the necessary expertise to provide proper medical attention and rehabilitation for the injured bird.

Releasing or Taking the Bird to a Rehab Center

When a bird hits your window, it is important to assess its condition before deciding whether to release it or take it to a rehab center. In some cases, the bird may only need a short period of time to recover and regain its strength.

However, there are instances when the bird may require more specialized care.

Release After At Least 1 Hour of Monitoring

After a bird hits your window, it is recommended to monitor it for at least 1 hour before deciding to release it. During this time, you can observe its behavior and assess its ability to fly. It is important to keep a safe distance from the bird to avoid causing additional stress.

If the bird shows signs of improvement during the monitoring period, such as regaining its balance and alertness, it may be ready for release. Slowly approach the bird and open a nearby window or door to provide an easy exit. Be patient and allow the bird to leave on its own terms.

Look for Signs the Bird is Ready for Release

There are several signs to look for to determine if the bird is ready for release. Firstly, check if it can perch steadily on a branch or ledge. This indicates that its motor skills are functioning properly.

Additionally, observe if the bird is able to fly in a straight line without any signs of weakness or disorientation.

If the bird is unable to fly or shows signs of injury, it may require further assistance. In such cases, it is important to contact a wildlife rehabilitator for professional care.

Contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator if Needed

If the bird shows signs of injury or is unable to fly after the monitoring period, it is crucial to contact a wildlife rehabilitator. These professionals have the necessary training and resources to provide proper care and treatment for injured birds.

When contacting a wildlife rehabilitator, provide them with detailed information about the bird’s condition and any observations you made during the monitoring period. They will be able to guide you on the next steps to take, which may include safely capturing the bird and transporting it to a rehab center.

It is worth noting that wildlife rehab centers rely on donations and support from the community to continue their important work. If you come across a bird in need of care, consider making a contribution or volunteering your time to help these organizations.

For more information on how to release or take a bird to a rehab center, you can visit www.audubon.org. They provide valuable resources and guidance for bird enthusiasts and individuals interested in bird conservation.

Preventing Future Window Collisions

Birds colliding with windows can be a distressing sight, but there are steps you can take to prevent these accidents from happening in the future. By making a few simple changes to your windows and surrounding environment, you can create a safer space for birds and reduce the risk of collisions.

Apply Visible Markings on Windows

One effective way to prevent bird collisions is to apply visible markings on your windows. These markings can be in the form of decals, stickers, or tape that are placed on the outside of the window. The goal is to break up the reflection and make the window more visible to birds.

By creating a pattern or design on the glass, birds are more likely to recognize it as a barrier and avoid collision.

Install Netting or Screens on Windows

Another option to consider is installing netting or screens on your windows. This will create a physical barrier that prevents birds from flying directly into the glass. Make sure to choose a netting or screen material that is bird-safe and won’t pose a risk to the birds themselves.

Place UV Reflective Film on Windows

UV reflective film is a specialized window covering that is invisible to the human eye but reflects ultraviolet light, which is visible to birds. By applying this film to your windows, you create a visual signal for birds that there is a barrier present.

This can help them avoid collisions and navigate safely.

Keep Vegetation Away from Windows

Vegetation near windows can attract birds and increase the likelihood of collisions. Birds may perceive the reflection of plants or trees in the glass as a safe landing spot. To prevent this, consider trimming or relocating any vegetation that is close to your windows.

Creating a clear line of sight will help birds recognize the window as a solid surface.

Turn Off Interior Lights at Night

Interior lights at night can attract birds, especially during migration periods. Birds may become disoriented by the bright lights and collide with windows in their attempt to reach the light source. By turning off unnecessary lights at night, you can reduce the risk of collisions and create a safer environment for birds.

Remember, implementing these preventive measures not only protects birds but also helps preserve their populations and the overall ecosystem. By taking action, you can make a positive impact and contribute to bird conservation efforts.


Bird window collisions can be startling, but fortunately there are steps you can take to help an injured bird recover. With some gentle handling techniques, a dark and quiet space to rest, and monitoring for an hour or more, many birds will be able to fly away unharmed after a window collision.

Knowing what to look for when assessing an injured bird, having some basic supplies ready like a cardboard box and towel, and being prepared to contact a wildlife rehabilitator if needed, will ensure you’re able to give the bird the best chance of recovery.

Additionally, taking some preventative measures like applying decals or screens to your windows will help reduce future collisions and protect the birds in your yard.

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