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Practical advice for bird lovers and anyone who cares about wildlife

By Jenny Holt 

Wildlife conservation Bird strikes are a reality and each year, up to a billion birds in the US die from crashing into windows. There might be more that are harmed by flying into windows. This is a serious occurrence that causes death and massive injuries to the bird population. Think of windows as extensions of a garden and that’s what birds actually see when they go through one. They see trees, the sky and plants around, which is why they think that it has unlimited depth and width. Birds fly at their top speeds without realizing that they are going to crash, injure or kill themselves.

Birds are not only harmed when they crash into glass windows, there are also many fatalities. If by any miracle, they don’t die, they are heavily injured, damaging not only wings but also internal organs. Death has its price too, as the bird populations slowly dwindle. This is not only true of endemic species but also migratory birds whose populations might become endangered.

In the US and Canada, there are some cities that introduced legislations to prevent or reduce bird strikes. Building constructions have to take into account the possibility of bird strikes. As such, they are designed and lit in such a way that birds will not mistake them as continuations or extensions of the sky. From specific glass types to external modifications, there are many ways that buildings and structures can be crash-proofed. For example, angled glass are meant to modify the inclination of the glass window so that it will not reflect skies or trees. Another bird-friendly glass is UV-reflective glass that birds can see warning them to stay away from that direction.

At home, there are many things that owners can do to make windows visible to birds. Apart from using special glass to avoid bird collisions, homeowners can modify the exterior of windows. Decals installed in strategic places deter birds from approaching the area. Movement and sounds from chimes alert them to stay away. Tape strips, shutters, bug screens and awnings are other ways to prevent birds from flying into windows. Bird feeders and bird baths should also be moved away from windows to discourage birds from getting too close and hurting themselves. Inside homes, vertical blinds and half-drawn curtains at daytime can help birds see that there is a window in front of them.

If a bird just seems winded and its wings are okay, then it will most likely fly on its own after getting its breath back. Just be sure no cat is around to cause further harm. For birds with injuries, put it in a box in a dark place to sort and calm itself. Those with broken wings or legs must be looked after by a vet. Note that migratory birds are protected species and only licensed professionals are allowed to handle them.

Jenny Holt is a freelance writer. You can contact her at: [email protected]

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