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Ruffed Grouse Flying Into Windows

1-25-16 dead ruffed grouse by Eve BernhardThose of us who feed birds are well aware of the hazards that windows and glass doors present to birds. The latest research shows that roughly 988 million birds are killed each year in the United States from hitting windows. Migratory birds and songbirds are the most common victims, but Ruffed Grouse, especially in the fall and winter, are very apt to collide with glass windows. (This phenomenon is not the same as the aggressive behavior towards glass that a bird’s reflection can promote, especially by males during the breeding season.)

Many of the grouse victims are first-year birds. Often, inexperienced young grouse, frightened by a predator, crash into buildings, trees or windows in a so-called “crazy-flight.” Hard, transparent glass is not something grouse recognize as a barrier, due to the reflections it creates. There are a number of things one can do to reduce the chances of this happening. Netting, decals, window film and tape hanging from the top of the window can help. One of many creative new products available are window panes that have external patterns that birds can see from the outside, but that are invisible from the inside. On a national level, legislation and bird-friendly buildings are gaining traction. For more window crash-prevention ideas, go to http://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/featured-stories/15-products-that-prevent-windows-strikes/. (Photo by Eve Bernhard)

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10 responses

  1. Through FLAP Canada I bought the 3M window stickers that allow birds to know a window is present. I love it as I have had no bird strikes on my windows since it’s application 3 years ago. Also I really like it because my SLR camera does not register the tiny squares when I am photographing the birds at my feeders through the windows. Look under GET SET to find out about this product. We are losing so many birds to window strikes and need to get cities on board to stop this needless loss of birds. http://www.flap.org/index.php

    January 25, 2016 at 7:40 am

  2. Pat Haley

    Just install all new windows!! (:)

    January 25, 2016 at 7:48 am

  3. polly3yr

    I made my own…cut an owl shape about 10″ tall out of box cardboard, covered it with tin foil, glued on big, round paper eyes colored yellow with black pupil, drew on the rest of the face with black magic marker, used clear duct tape to attach six of them to sliding glass doors 8 yrs ago, and haven’t had one strike since. They were virtually free, since I used available household items

    January 25, 2016 at 8:34 am

  4. Dee Blanton

    I have had good luck by moving my feeder a bit closer to the window and hanging a long stretch of mylar Chrstmas ribbon on the window. It seems to break up the reflection, and moves with the wind.

    January 25, 2016 at 8:46 am

  5. annetdonaghy

    hi Mary, I’m glad you posted this to help get people aware of things they can do to minimize birds flying into their windows. We used to have a serious problem with this in our house, but noticed that when we replaced all our old windows with super efficient ones, we’ve hardly had a problem – and all I can conclude is that these new windows have a darker tint on the outside, and that seems to help.

    I DID have the strangest thing happen last spring when robins were whizzing around the house. A robin flew into the medium mesh screen around our compost pile with such speed that he impaled his beak on the wires. My husband and I were able to work as a team, me holding the struggling robin, while he used wire cutters very carefully, and we were able to release him. I tied little flags of ribbon all around that screen right away, and no problems since!

    thanks again for your wonderful postings, Anne

    On Mon, Jan 25, 2016 at 7:32 AM, Naturally Curious with Mary Holland wrote:

    > Mary Holland posted: “Those of us who feed birds are well aware of the > hazards that windows and glass doors present to birds. The latest research > shows that roughly 988 million birds are killed each year in the United > States from hitting windows. Migratory birds and songbirds ” >

    January 25, 2016 at 9:53 am

  6. Last winter, one crashed into the windshield of Tim’s work truck, while it was parked outside the garage!! He was working under the truck and heard a weird thud. When he checked it out there was the grouse, warm and dead on the hood, with a broken neck. So sad and SO strange! Such a beautiful bird. He called me right away… It’s now in the freezer, for reference.

    January 25, 2016 at 1:24 pm

  7. Sad statistics – I hope the awareness spreads.

    January 25, 2016 at 9:25 pm

  8. Jean Harrison

    Many years ago in western Massachusetts a ruffed grouse broke my $200 picture window. I ate the grouse. It was very good, but not much meat for dinner for me and my husband.

    January 26, 2016 at 12:02 am

  9. Kir

    I’ve got scotch tape (I think the “magic tape) on mine, which keeps my parakeets from bumping the windows. I think the stickers and dog-nose-smudges the kids put on the french front door have that one sorted.

    **grin** #LowTech

    January 26, 2016 at 12:40 pm

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