Spring has finally hit the northern hemisphere, and with it comes cleaning. But while you’re wiping a winter’s worth of grime off your windows, don’t be too meticulous; the clean windows allowing you to enjoy nature’s vernal charms may also be posing a threat: specifically to birds.
Windows either transparent (most houses) or reflective (most skyscrapers) account for a bogglingly high number of bird deaths: as many as a billion each year, in North America alone, according to one American researcher. Certain skyscrapers have been recorded taking down more than 200 birds a day and so have many suburban neighbourhoods.
This approximation makes bird-window collisions the second biggest cause of bird population decrease, after habitat destruction and ahead of popular culprits like power lines, oil slicks, and hydro towers.
How better to lighten your ecological footprint than to let the birds around your home enjoy their habitat in safety. Here are a couple of quick ways to make your windows bird-friendly:
Close your blinds. A closed blind will reduce your window’s transparency and reflectivity, and will also keep from attracting birds after dark. Closing your blinds is also a great way to reduce heating or air conditioning costs, depending on the season and the orientation of the window in question.
Fill your windows. A carefully placed window ornament or plant will turn your birds away. So will hawk or owl silhouettes, readily available in most outdoorsy stores. Even screens will often cut down on your window’s transparency enough to deter your feathered friends.
Move your feeder. Place your birdfeeder well clear of your windows, or, conversely, right against the glass, which will make birds slow down as they approach. During peak activity times, like mating and migration, take your feeders away. Many bird-window collisions are a result of a territorial bird attacking its own reflection.