Windows are one of the biggest threats to our local and migratory bird populations – it’s estimated that 25 million birds in Canada die each year from window collisions. Migration season in the fall and spring is an especially difficult time for birds as they are travelling long distances, often through cities and suburbs. Here in Winnipeg, songbirds are frequent victims of window collisions, but birds of all shapes and sizes can collide with windows.
Together, we can help migratory birds travel to their winter homes safely this fall.
1. Make Your Windows Bird Friendly – DIY Project!
Reduce the reflection and transparency of your windows. There are a variety of inexpensive, DIY techniques you can use at home and at work, and this is a great way to get kids involved with wildlife conservation!
- Decorate your windows with washable markers, like chalk markers. Draw lines, dots, or create a fun design, like Laura Burns, Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC) Conservation Research Specialist, has done in the picture below!
- Create a design, or draw lines or dots on your windows with a bar of soap.
- If you’d rather not place anything directly on your glass, string yarn across your windows. Lines or a grid design are both effective.
Any markings on your windows should be on the outside of the window and spaced no more than 5 cm apart.
ACP Conservation Research Specialist, Laura Burns, decorates her windows at home
2. Make Small Changes Inside Your Home
If you can’t change the outside of your window, there are small, simple changes you can make inside to make a big difference! Try these easy techniques to deter birds from flying into your window:
- Turn off your lights at night.
- Move house plants away from your windows.
- Close your curtains and blinds whenever possible.
- Refrain from cleaning your windows frequently during migration season.
3. Invest in a More Permanent Solution
At Assiniboine Park and Zoo, we have added long-term treatments to many of our windows to help make our buildings safer for birds. You may notice small dots on windows at the Park Café, the Gibbon Pavilion, the wolf habitat, and several other public and behind the scenes buildings. These dots break up the reflection of glass and provide a more permanent solution to save birds. The stickers are easy to install and come in large tape rolls. Visit Feather Friendly to purchase a DIY kit for your home or office.
Window treatments at the Park Cafe at Assiniboine Park
APC volunteer Maurice installs window treatments at the Gibbon Pavilion
4. Participate in Citizen Science
APC is a proud supporter of FLAP Canada, an organization dedicated to safeguarding migratory birds through education, policy, development, research, rescue, and rehabilitation. This year, from October 2 – 8, FLAP Canada is asking individuals to help collect data about local bird-window collisions and raise awareness on the issue as part of the Global Bird Rescue event. You can report bird collisions to FLAP using the Global Bird Collision Mapper as an individual or create a team for your workplace or neighbourhood. An APC team will be participating this year and we encourage you to participate alongside us!
5. Spread the Word!
Tell your friends, family, and coworkers about the threat that windows pose to birds, and help those around you discover solutions! The more people know about this issue, the better we can all work together to create a safer world for migratory birds.