Birds and Windows

People in glasses houses, besides not throwing stones, also need to find ways to mitigate the needless avian deaths caused by all that glass. With over 100 windows on the exterior of the house and studio, bird strikes happen. The key has been to help the birds avoid hitting the windows or at least realizing they’re about to so they can pull up and not hit with lethal force.

Early on I experimented with some custom window clings I printed. I also made a post a few years back about the so-so success we were having stopping the deaths. The downside to the window clings were that ink eventually faded or if it got damp it would run. I needed a better sticky option and that is when I discovered Rabbitgoo.

Rabbitgoo is sold in rolls and marketed as a way to create privacy: think front doors and bathroom windows. It’s a pretty sturdy stuff and handles being removed and put back in place well. Best of all, it can be easily cut.

Enter my Cricut. I made some simple stencils of bird silhouettes. Then I loaded some of the plastic onto a mat and let my Cricut do the rest.

The results are working! And they look quite pretty. Here are the great room windows with their swallows.

An in my office, I went with simple bands to break up huge bank of north-facing windows as well as a couple of bird feeders hung from the eaves.

We’re also experimenting with some feeders that attach directly to the windows via suction cups. Several three-pot humming feeders from as well as a couple seed feeders from seem to not only curb strikes on two areas that were especially problematic, but they also allow for birds to get really really close.

There is only so much we can do though and encouraging song birds to live here has resulted in a new sort of bird strike issue.

Case in point: This is Frank — here at the ranch we call just every animal from lizard and snake to hare and bird Frank.

Frank has been using the windows of the main house and one of the outbuildings to help him score some meals:  scaring smaller birds into crashing into a window has proven successful, but its only a matter of time before he misjudges things and learns the same lesson Frank our resident Sharpie learned.  (Don’t worry, Frank the Sharpie recovered just fine and I see him out and about regularly.)

More of Frank the Sharpie here:

When in my office I have my eyes peeled fro the tell-tale swooping shadow that announce Frank’s presence and my ears pealed for the twack sound of a window strike elsewhere.  This morning I didn’t hear the twack, but after delivering fresh coffee to the race team in the garage, (they’re prepping a car for the race up in Oregon next weekend) I found this juvenile Barn Swallow on the front stoop of the north wing of the house.

This poor Frank was alive but had landed stunned in the full morning sum and was overheating quickly.  So into the hospital box it went and after it was feeling better and full use of its feet and wings, I took it out to the old pole barn so it could rejoin the main flock and its parents would be able to assist if needed.

While we will never be able to prevent our windows from never killing birds, we have managed to significantly stem the tide. We do however, have a new window-related issue that happens occasionally….Mule Deer sometimes run into the great room windows late at night. Now that is a totally different sort of thwacking sound!

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