Spring has finally arrived, and with it, the return of migratory birds that add so much life and beauty to our world. We can expect to see large numbers of new arrivals over the next couple of weeks. Despite this annual influx, many songbird populations are in decline. There are various reasons for this, an important one being collisions with windows. I live in a wooded area in the Carp Hills just west of Ottawa, and over the years we have had several birds hit our windows. It is distressing to hear the hollow thud of a bird colliding with a window, and then see the life drain out of it on the ground below.
There are ways of preventing these collisions, though. One of the best is to place a visual pattern on your windows so that birds do not mistake them for an open passage. A good product is called Feather Friendly, and is available at bird supply stores such as Wild Birds Unlimited or, to the west of Ottawa, Gilligalou Birds in Almonte. I had bought a roll of Feather Friendly tape at Gilligalou last fall, but the early arrival of winter in November meant I was not able to apply it to the window then. When another bird, a Sapsucker (it survived the impact, fortunately), hit a window this spring, I was equipped to do something about it.
Being in lockdown at home, I had lots of time for this project. The application of the tape to the windows is a bit finicky, but the instructions on the package are clear, and the job is not too difficult. It involves applying a backing tape with the markers attached, at two-inch intervals down the window. Once the tape has been applied, it is peeled off leaving the square markers behind. It took a few hours to complete the job, but there is a lot of window to cover here! The picture below shows me removing the tape as I work down the window, and the second, the finished result. The markers, on a two-inch grid, are quite visible from the outside, but much less so from the inside of the house. You can see from the picture of the finished work why birds might be prone to flying into this window.
There are other choices for preventing bird collisions with windows. The Feather Friendly product is one of the more effective ones. You can learn more about window collisions and ways to prevent them from a group in Ottawa called Safe Wings: https://safewings.ca/strategies/homes. There is also lots of good information on their website and Facebook page about action to prevent window collisions on public and commercial buildings. A good place to start, however, is with our own homes.
President, CPAWS Ottawa Valley