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LuckyGuy's avatar

If birds occasionally hit your picture windows are you willing to try a simple experiment to stop it?

Asked by LuckyGuy (39267points) 1 week ago

Brids occasionally crash into my north and south facing windows – especially after I clean them. Sometimes the birds are stunned and recover but often they do not – and become food for the neighborhood fox.

I read that many birds can see in the UV region and that encouraged me to try an experiment that might help.
I made a few squiggly lines and a couple of asterisk patterns on the outside of my windows with yellow and green highlighters. The marks are barely visible from inside the house but you can see them if you know they are there.
The good news is that the bird collisions have almost stopped!

I used 4 different markers, 2 yellow and 2 green: Sanford Major Accent and Promarx Glowline Yellow, and Sharpie Highlighter and Avery Fluorescent Green. I don’t know if one is better than the other. I used them all and it seems to be working.

Is this an isolated case or have I discovered something?

Are you willing to try marking your window with highlighter to see if it makes a difference? The marks come off easily so nothing is lost.
Want to try it?

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19 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

On bus stops, they put on stencils of birds of prey. You could try that.
Besides that, no birds have ever crashed into my windows.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I’m not willing to do that. I don’t care that much.

But I can say that every year, a couple of birds fly headlong into the windows on my garage door, thinking that it’s actually flyable (when in fact the glass is acting like a mirror).

My yard attracts various breeds – many cardinals, some blue jays, and smattering of others. Based on my totally unscientific sampling, the dead birds are always the unidentified brown birds, not the cardinals and not the bluejays.

Are cardinals smarter? Inquiring minds sort of are interested.

The cardinals frequently perch on the side of the car and admire themselves in the side mirrors. Cute but then they shit down the car door.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@ragingloli I’ve put holiday decorations on the windows and that does work but they looks ugly and block the view
The beauty of the fluorescent highlighters is they are invisible to humans, they don’t block the view and they are free.
I wonder some bus stops could be marked with highlighter.

This could be an interesting science experiment.

mazingerz88's avatar

Haven’t experienced this sort of situation with birds and my windows. Though I’ve seen this thing before and felt bad about the bird who got knocked out and luckily recovered.

I would follow this thread curious if a potential solution would come up to warn the birds, one that wouldn’t require putting anything on the window.


Ok, I just read the post above. Well that seems to be one way to do it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@elbanditoroso I, too, have cardinals going after my car side mirrors – and pooping down the door. Yuk! I put a plastic bag over the mirror to discourage it.

We had a mourning dove crash into an old storm window and break it! There was a boom and a crash! Highlighter (if it works) would have been a lot cheaper.

mazingerz88's avatar

Oh, it just occurred to me, so this is why the local Arby’s here has those owl statues on its roof?

KNOWITALL's avatar

If I had a large number, I would certainly try it. My large windows facing east get a few hits a year so I don’t think we’re quite at magic marker level yet. Good idea though!

LuckyGuy's avatar

@KNOWITALL The markers are almost invisible. I can see the Sanford sharpie yellow but the green ones disappear with the pine trees in the distance.
I actually wrote the names of the four markers on the windows so I could keep track.
Also, since window glass does not pass UV light the marks have to be on the outside glass to be seen by the birds . Maybe that is why I don’t see them when I look from the inside.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@mazingerz88 The owl is almost certainly a tactic to discourage the pigeons. It usually works for perhaps a day. Never more than 2.

SnipSnip's avatar

I handled it by hanging vertical blinds behind the curtain. Now during the day the blinds are open but birds can see them.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I’m hoping someone will try the markers. It is easy to do.

kritiper's avatar

I find it interesting because when the bird does hit the window, they leave a perfect print of themselves on the glass.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@kritiper I’ve seen those dusty prints. The wingspans are surprisingly large.

As an experiment I marked the entire windows. I should have marked only half to see if I get prints only on one side.

Inspired_2write's avatar

No, I don’t want that on my windows since I take photographs through them of the variety of birds.

I did observe that especially “after’ I had cleaned my windows that the odd bird would hit the window.

I also observed that my indoor plants were situated directly at the window and that they were trying to get at them.

As I have a small roof that is about an inch or two below my window I placed potted plants outside and that stopped the accidents .

I also at times place a cut up watermelon in a tinfoil plate for them to feast on and in doing so I had front and center aim to take fantastic photographs of them.

I was surprised that ALL kinds of birds feasted together with out any problems.

Had Sparrows, Crows, Magpies, and one huge Raven that flew in as well.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@Inspired_2write I take picture through my windows as well. The marks are hardly visible. and certainly do not show up in the photos since the focus range is so different.

raum's avatar

I am both glad that birds don’t fly into my windows. And disappointed that I can’t help you with this experiment. I find this totally interesting.

Could you mark windows in public spaces?

LuckyGuy's avatar

It is so easy to do and does not show up unless you look at it under UV light.
I am not going to risk doing it on a public building. i also would not be able to monitor the results.

That is why I hoped people would try it on their own windows.
Note: the highlighter marking is fading after about 10 days. I will refresh it soon – when the temperature gets above 60F.

Inspired_2write's avatar

@LuckyGuy What about when you clean the windows, does it come off and do you have to reapply it?

LuckyGuy's avatar

Yes. It comes off easily. Just a little water will do it. Then you make marks again.
Experiment. Try different designs.

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