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Window Strike Prevention

By Lucy Macmillan


1As companion bird owners, one primary responsibility we all share is to prevent unnecessary injury to our flock.  One of the most common injuries that can occur with pet birds at home comes from flying “accidents”, including so-called window strikes where a bird crashes or accidentally flies into a glass window or other see-through surface.  Birds, especially those not clipped, can gain a lot of speed when flying for fun or when they are spooked, and can end up hitting a window.  Just as with wild birds, window strikes can result in injury to our companion birds or even death.  There are some very simple, preventive measures every bird owner can take to minimize the chances for a window strike at home.

1. Keep your bird’s wings clipped – wing-clipped birds typically fly gradually downward and cannot as easily gain the altitude or speed that may result in striking a window quickly.


2. Hang curtains, beads or shades to cover the window.  This way the bird sees the shade or curtain and won’t necessarily fly into it.  Very thin fabric that allows light through works well.

3. Place tall household plants (non-toxic ones of course!) in front of your windows at flying height. Think of it as creating an aviary type environment. Draconia species and palms are great for this, as are cut manzanita branches. These can provide a natural looking environment and be decorative too!

4. Place stick-on decals like Window Alert on the windows. These decals are generally invisible to the human eye, but birds can see the decal image on the glass and will be more likely to avoid flying into it. While these decals are primarily designed to discourage wild birds from hitting windows from the outside they can also be used from the inside to prevent your own bird from hitting the glass. Make sure to use bird “friendly” decals though so as not to scare your bird with images of hawks or other potential predators.

5. Regularly carry your bird to the window and let it “knock” on it with its beak. During out-of-cage time, my cockatiels walk up to our sliding glass doors to look out. Usually they see their reflection or otherwise seem to know the window is there and so avoid purposely flying into it.

While not all window-strike injuries or accidents are preventable (that’s why they’re called accidents!) we can all do our best to minimize them at home.