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Bird Window Strikes

Tucson, like many other cities, is experiencing rapid urbanization causing habitat loss for many bird species. Now more than ever a large number of birds are found near buildings. Window strikes are a significant source of human caused bird mortality in North America. 365 million to 1 billion birds die from window collisions every year in the US alone. The majority of these strikes happen in residential areas.

Has a bird ever flown into one of your windows? There are strategies to prevent this from happening in your yard. 

Tucson and Southeast Arizona are joining the ranks of other cities employing the bird-safe buildings program through Tucson Audubon’s Bird Safe Buildings initiative. We are addressing both residential window strike prevention as well as dangers posed by large commercial buildings. We will work with owners to encourage them to turn off lights at night during peak migration season in Arizona. Currently no such program exists in Tucson leaving birds entering our major migration flyway vulnerable as most birds migrate at night and can be confused by the artificial light. This program endeavors to create a safe passage and residency for millions of birds in urban, suburban and rural settings.

You can help!

Why are buildings so dangerous to birds?

  • Reflectivity. At certain times of day windows become mirror-like and reflect habitat across. Birds, not being familiar with that concept, try to get over to the patch of habitat inadvertently striking the glass.
  • Transparency. Windows located directly across from each other create a sense of possible passage for birds.
  • Lighting. Especially important during migration seasons, light can distract and confuse birds who either strike the windows or become caught in the disorienting beam of light.

Best Practices to Prevent Bird Window Collisions

  • Install external blinds and screens to break up reflections. This is a temperature preserving method that can also lower your electric bill. Win-win!
  • Keep internal blinds partially closed unless it creates reflectivity. If two windows are directly across from each other, it creates a sense of fly through path for the bird and should be blocked.
  • Position feeders either 0-3 feet of a window (so birds cannot gain enough speed to do damage that close); or more than 30 feet away (to allow more room to maneuver).
  • Turn off indoor and outdoor lighting when not in use. Especially important during fall and spring migration in high rise buildings.
  • Create designs on reflective or transparent windows to make them more visible to birds. Follow the 2×2 rule to protect even the smallest species. See some of the methods we suggest on this page.
  • Make sure that all designs are visible from 10 feet away. Recommendation for stripes is at least 1/8″ wide and for dots at least 1/4″ in diameter. With that said, bigger patterns are seen better from greater distances. The 2×2 spacing is still the most important factor.

Bird-friendly Buildings

Ways to Prevent Window Collisions

Acopian Birdsavers

DIY or Purchase

An external curtain of paracord allows for an affordable window treatment that does not directly adhere to the window itself.

 

 

Tempera Paint or Bar Soap

DIY

Draw a temporary design up to your liking. Apply to the exterior of the glass surface for best visibility. It’s easily removed and can be switched up to match holidays for a kid-friendly project. Tempera paint is available at your local craft stores and online. Get creative!

 The possibilities are endless!

Feather Friendly Bird Tape

Purchase at Tucson Audubon Nature Shop or our Online Shop

This is a dotted decal design that does not obscure much of your view yet remains visible to birds.

 

 

CollidEscape Bird Tape and Film

Purchase 

This method offers a few different options that stick directly onto the exterior of your window glass. Some options even offer privacy and energy davings while preserving the view out.

 

Bird Crash Preventer Curtains

Purchase

Brackets of monofilament lines comes with hardware required for installation. This method preserved the view out and easily installed.

 

 

Songbird Essential Window Decals

Purchase in Tucson Audubon Nature Shop or our Online Store.

These decals must follow the 2″x 2″ spacing rule to protect even our smallest fliers. A single hawk silhouette will not deter the birds.

 

 

 

What to do with a bird that hit a window

Depending on the condition of the bird follow the guidelines provided by Tucson Wildlife Center, an accredited wildlife rehabilitation facility: click here.

What to do with a dead bird

Bird deaths are upsetting. Something good can come out of it. Strike-proof your windows and consider donating dead birds in good feather condition to the following cause:

Liberty Wildlife Feather Repository is a feather bank that is permitted by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to accept, hold, and distribute feathers to Native Americans for religious and ceremonial purposes.  To donate your dead bird to the Feather Repository please wrap it in a paper towel, put it in a Ziploc bag and keep frozen until further transportation. Contact Liberty Wildlife Repository coordinator, Robert Mesta, at robertm@libertywildlife.org Please include species name or picture in your email. Robert will be able to let you know if there is a need for the specific species you are submitting. Liberty Wildlife is not able to take all submissions due to limited space.

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Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120 Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447

color_square_face_right

Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447

color_square_face_right

Tucson Audubon Society
300 E University Blvd. #120
Tucson, AZ 85705

Mason Center
3835 W Hardy Rd.
Tucson, AZ 85742

Paton Center for Hummingbirds
477 Pennsylvania Ave.
Patagonia, AZ 85624
520 415-6447