Stop Birds from Flying into Windows

We hear from readers all the time, asking us what to do about birds flying into windows. It’s a tough one. The only thing you can really do is to break up the reflection in the glass. We’ve heard of readers using everything from wind chimes to streamers to do this, but here at our offices in Wisconsin, we use a simple paper cutout. You can buy window clings and gels to put on your windows to accomplish this as well, but a simple silhouette print works, too. Here’s a hawk design that you can use for your own windows. Download your own pdf to print out by clicking on the bird below.

  1. Danielle says

    This is great- readers are always asking for a way to protect their birds, and this sure is a simple solution!

  2. Lorre says

    For years I simply cut a picture of a cat from a cat food ad or out of a cat fancy book and tape it to the window. It works like a charm.

  3. Lydia Goodman says

    Our problem is not our house windows, but the side mirrors on our van. For years now the cardinals have been enamored with their reflection in the mirrors. At first for several years it was a male, which I could understand. For the last couple of years it has been a female. She evidently pecks on the mirror and leaves marks all over it. She has even flown down just as we stopped the van in the driveway and I think one day she flew down on my daughters SUV when she pulled in. I’ve thought about making an fabric cover with elastic to slip over them when we aren’t driving. Any ideas would be appreciated.

    • Jimmy says

      We have had the same problem where we live. We have the Eastern Towhee doing the same thing. What I’ve done is just fold in the mirrors to the side of the door. This prevents them from seeing their reflection.

      Yes, they make marks from their beaks hitting the mirror, and of course other droppings! The issue is not that they occasionally fly into the mirror as this article states, but they are fascinated with their reflection, and seem mesmerized where they fly into the mirror continually.

      Hope it helps!

  4. says

    Great idea!!! Thank You! I have problems mostly in the winter and spring with the birds flying into my big picture window.


  5. Carol says

    We don’t have a problem with birds flying into our windows. I think it’s because we have the windows that are all little 6″x8″ squares. So that would be another way to do it. They have the grids now to add to the newer windows.

  6. Erin says

    We had trouble for years with cardinals attacking our pick-up truck side mirrors, even cracking one of them! We took to tying used grocery-store bags over the mirrors every time we came home. And this year, they began dancing along the metal toolbox in the back and attacking the tinted back window. Out of sheer desperation, we put an old medicine cabinet mirror (from a thrift store) in the back of the truck, perpendicular to the back window, hoping they’d attack a bigger/clearer reflection instead. When they saw themselves attacking the window, they must have thought there was too much competition in the area and packed up and left! We haven’t seen them since!

  7. Donna S. Boyd says

    We’ve seen many posts about cardinals attacking windows. Here’s one for the books: we have a couple of robins that are bound and determined to build a web site over the front door in the little transom. Day after day they drag litter from around the bases of flowers, and attach it to the 4 or 5 inch-wide shelf that makes up the transom. I’ve cleaned the mess up 5 times now, and I’m still counting….. I even hosed the upper left corner which has the mud completely attached to it, and used the garden rake to get the mud loose. What should I do??

    • pauline weaver says

      Somehow you need to hang strips of cloth soaked in vinegar close to the area. We tied them on a metal hagar and hung that on a hook in the ceiling if the proch. stopped them cold.

  8. Jo says

    I finally figured out why birds were flying into our windows…… when I was outside I noticed that the windows reflected the sky…..and they would just fly into them.

    I have printed out the hawk & add it to my collection of bird pictures for the windows. Plus I use two magnets on the screen door – back to back (cut in the shape of a hummer). I found those at our hardware store

    • char eldien says

      No, the hawk decal will not scare all the birds away and as a matter-of-fact, it did not deter them from smacking into the windows either. Any other suggestions?

  9. Val says

    The silhouette of a hawk doesn’t work. We had a cardinal who kept flying into our sunroom windows. Tried everything but finally found that placing screening on the windows stopped him cold. He kept up the banging and flying into the windows up for 3 years. I’m presuming it was the same bird. Now he flies around the yard but not into the windows, thank goodness.

  10. says

    This is month 2, and this cardinal just won’t let up. I’ve tried gel gems, smeared dishwashing detergent all over the windows, and have put an owl puppet in the window! He then flies to the back and then the upstairs window. This article couldn’t be coming at a better time.
    I really appreciate the cut out and will put it in all of the windows.

  11. R. rusty Avery says

    I wonder if it will work on Woodpeckers ? They are making holes in the side of our house..I now have about a bushel of acorns in my attic..rusty

  12. Betty says

    Put a window feeder on your window. It helps the birds see it is not clear space. It really does work.

  13. Ricky says

    I watched an interesting thing at the gym one day. Made the tredmill go quickly. There was a bird trying to fly into the side mirror on a car. He did it about 3 times and then sat on the edge of it and kept trying to get into the car window. Kept going around the edge of the window trying to find a way in. Wonder if there were beads or something from the rearview mirror he was after.

  14. Patti says

    Great comments. We too for a couple of years had a Bluebird who would sit on the side of the car by the side mirrors and attack them. Made a big mess on your car because of his pooping on it. So we just covered them with baggies and it no longer could see itself and quite.
    Boy, it is really hard to keep woodpeckers from drilling holes in your wood siding. There must be bugs in it that you don’t know about. That is what they are after. Maybe putting up a fake statue of a hawk might scare them away. There are hawks that eat other birds.
    Birds do some pretty funny things. We have one female Downy Woodpecker that comes and drinks out of our Hummingbird feeder. She must have a sweet tooth.
    About the Robins, put something up there that will take up the space. We had problems with Robins doing the same thing under our raised 2-story deck. I put pieces of plastic fencing-the kind of little decorative fence you can get for around your flower beds. I broke it into pieces and put it up in the places they were trying to nest in. No more Robins. We have an skull of a cow hanging on our barn front. It now wears a Robin next wig and has three little babes in it.

  15. Linda says

    I have taped garbage bags over the window to keep birds from seeing themselves. It also worked on the shiny kickplate at the bottom of our front door.

  16. pauline weaver says

    Donna re: nest buidling
    Somehow you need to hang strips of cloth soaked in vinegar close to the area. We tied them on a metal hangar and hung that on a hook in the ceiling if the proch. The wind can dry it out but I’ll bet a morning and evening soaking and they will be gone in a few days.

  17. Connie says

    re: woodpeckers drilling holes in wood siding — my parents in Ohio have the same problem with downies; and strangely in the fall, not during breeding season. They’re not after bugs, but according to research they are tapping out their territory, much like a wolf howling. My brother nailed some 4″ wide aluminum strips the same color as the trim over the areas and they stopped. I also found a suggestion to hang holographic mylar ribbon from the eaves, so it will blow and reflect sunlight. I looked all over for this tape or ribbon with no luck, then at christmas realized a lot of the shiny bows are made out of this – you can remove the staple and hang the strips.

  18. S. Bargo says

    My problem seems more serious. I’ve found 6 dead birds of varying kinds in the past 2 days. They fly, full speed into the windows or doors onto the back deck.

    I have 2 dogs in the house, who go in and out that way fairly often, and an outside cat who stays on that deck. You’d think birds would naturally stear clear of that area. Regardless, they are crashing at an alarming rate.

    In the past, we may have had one or two cassualties per season. Does anybody have an idea why there’s this sudden escalation?

  19. Carol says

    All of our windows in the house are tinted and apparently the birds see their reflection in the windows and run into them. I am unable to cllimb to the window upstairs where this typically happens. Any suggestions for this?

  20. Sandy says

    My problem is COWBIRDS ! They sit on the ledge of the window or hover near the window and peck at the glass. they do NOT fly into the glass like other birds. They make quite a mess not to mention the pecking noise. We usually get out some owl decoys and hang them from the window. Any other suggestions?

  21. Cathie says

    To stop birds from flying into our front door with full length glass, I had to hang a sheer rod-to-rod drapery panel and I haven’t had a problem since. I hope this helps someone.

  22. Marilyn says

    The decal idea is certainly not unsightly… but our windows are pretty large and I wasn’t crazy about disturbing our view. (I’m a little OCD in that my eye is drawn to smudges, smears or anything on the window so that I don’t see anything else.) But I had to do something, since it is heart-wrenching every time I hear a thud by the windows. This inexpensive bird netting solution seems to have stopped the problem without obstructing our view:

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