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How to Help a Bird Recover From a Window Collision

Nothing is worse than the thud of a bird flying against a window. It is not that the glass is invisible to the bird; it reflects images of trees and other foliage that make your window an inviting place to land. The size of the problem is astonishing, Collision with manmade structures ranks second among causes of death among migratory birds in North America. (Habitat loss is No. 1.) Approximately 100 million birds die in collisions every year — some experts put the number as high as one billion.


Avoidance Rather Than Cure

Bird feeding hobbyists can help protect birds from collisions with a few simple. First, be careful where you place your bird feeders. If this feeder is close to a window, the birds might be unable to tell the difference between the reflection and the object. Therefore, keeping the feeder close to the natural environment and away from your house is the best practice. Ideally, the feeder should be 30 feet away from your windows or less than 3 feet so the reflection isn’t so prominent.

It is also a good idea to use white drapes to reduce the reflection. You can also take on decals of birds onto the glass, which is a deterrent to other birds flying close, or provide window markers with products like WBFI member - Feather Friendly.

Finally, if you want to protect bird life doubly, you can reduce the reflectivity even more with a bug screen. Not only will this reduce the chance of the bird flying into the window, but it will also reduce injury as it cushions the impact.

What to do if a bird collision happens

Step 1: Avoid Touching Unless Necessary

A concussion is a likely outcome of a clash with your window. Therefore, any stimulus could make this condition worse. Therefore, avoid interacting with the bird until it has come to its senses.

Step 2: Be Prepared

It is likely that if birds hit your windows, they do so regularly. For some people, this is a reality because of how the light hits the glass and the surrounding vegetation. If this is the case, keep a towel and small box at hand, with a pair of gloves, ready as a safe place for the bird to recover. Ensure the box has holes in it and that it is lined.

Step 3: Watch For Awhile

The first five or six minutes should be devoted to watching the bird and keeping it safe from predators. During this time, the bird could recover from the concussion and be free to fly away. If the bird remains motionless for more than 6 minutes, pick it up with gloves on and place it in the box. If the bird has sustained a shoulder or wing injury, it will not be able to lift its wings to fly. It might be able to fly short distances along the floor but not take to the sky. In this case, you again need to place the bird in the box.

Step 4: Pick Up the Bird

It is vital to hold the bird upright so that it can breathe and that you use gentle pressure to keep its wings against its body. This requires a firm grip but does not squeeze the bird.

Place the bird in the box as quickly as possible and put the lid on to remove the stimulus; this is important where there might be a concussion.  If you are waiting to see if the bird recovers, place it somewhere out of the way of predators, especially cats, and out of direct sunlight.

Step 5: Observation

Over the next two hours, observe the bird every 20 minutes. If the bird seems to recover during this time, you can take it outside and allow it to fly away. It is best to walk the bird into the woods before letting it go, so it has somewhere to pass to and recover.

Step 6: Call in the Experts

If the bird doesn’t recover after two hours, it is time to find someone who can help. It is best to discuss with the local wildlife agency what next steps you should take.


SOURCES: Garden Birds

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