Why Do Birds Attack Windows | Can Birds See Through Glass?

A bird attacking a window is extremely common in cities having huge buildings covered with shiny glasses. But why do birds attack windows?

Why Do Birds Attack Windows?

Some birds attack windows or other similar reflecting surfaces like mirrors, reflective grills, chrome bumper, etc. because of their territorial and defending nature. When they see a reflection of their own on a reflecting surface, they mistake it as their rival bird and attack it to defend their territory. 

These attacks mostly happen during spring as it is the breeding season for birds and the arrival of migration season. During this time, birds search sites for nesting and claim them as their territories.

A bird can see through glass. Hence, it can also see glare and reflections in it. Being aggressive, they may peck at it, beat it with wings, or fly against it. This does not cause much harm to them, but they can get exhausted.

Birds that usually breed near suburban areas are most likely to show this behavior. However, some species that are aggressive and do not allow intruders in their territory are:

  • American robin
  • Chipping sparrow
  • Northern cardinals
  • Gray wagtail
  • Canada jay
  • Magpie-lark
  • American goldfinches
  • Wild turkeys
  • Ruffed grouse 

Why Can’t Birds See Glass?

Birds cannot see glass because of their inability to visualize cues or to analyze what they see, unlike humans. 

They do not detect the glass. They might not strike the same individual window after repeated collisions. But, unlike humans, they do not generalize and learn from the experience and remain susceptible to collisions. 

Birds have different abilities to see colors from mammals. They are likely to see distinct colors and intensities beyond humans. When they see a glass, they might see the reflection more brightly which makes them assume it is real. Whereas, they remain unable to detect the transparent barrier.   

Related Read: Colors Of Birds | Interesting Things To Know

What Does it Mean When A Bird Hits Your Window and Flies Away?

When a bird hits your window, it happens for many different practical reasons. But several traditions consider this activity as a message from God or have a spiritual belief about it.

Some of those spiritual meanings of birds hitting a window are:

  • A change is about to occur in your life.
  • The arrival of clear vision.
  • Message from God to guide or protect you.
  • End of pain and suffering.
  • A sign of finances

How Do I Stop Birds Attacking and Pecking at Your Home and Car Windows?

There are many ways to stop birds from attacking and pecking glass windows and cars. They prevent the bird-window collisions by breaking the reflection of the bird’s image on the glass. 

Following are the ways to stop bird-window attacks at your home:

Tape strips:

Arrange bird deterrent tape strips or strips of paper or plastic in patterns,   keeping an inch distance between them.


Placing decals or stickers closely on the outer surface of windows. Try to cover the whole surface with narrow gaps for an effective result.

Window spray:

Using Window sprays can help to stop bird attacks. You can buy the best window spray to stop bird attacks from amazon.

Paint or soap:

Paint creative grid patterns or artwork outside the window surface. Soaping can also help to break up the reflection.

Window films:

Placing non-reflecting window film on the glass of windows. They make the glass opaque.

Windchimes or scare rods:

Hanging windchimes, scare rods, or other bird repellent devices outside the window. 


Installing external shutters outside the window. They can be closed when windows aren’t in use.

Bird feeders:

Placing bird feeders either too close to the window or quite far. Both ways would help birds to distract from the windows.

Related Read: How to keep birds off my porch? | Best ways to keep birds away.

External awnings:

Installing a shade or awning outside windows makes them less likely for reflection and transparency.

To stop birds attacking or pecking on car windows, chrome bumper, or mirrors, you can use car covers to hide the reflecting surface. You can park the vehicle at a different location, preferably outside the bird’s territory.

Related Read: Do Windmills Kill Birds? | How Many Birds Are Killed By Windmills And Wind Turbines?

Can A Bird Recover From Hitting A Window?

A bird may recover after hitting a window depending on the severity of the impact. The recovery time may take a few minutes or even hours. If a bird does not recover even after 2-3 hours, taking it to a wildlife rehabilitator may help to recover it from the impact.

Related Read: Does Bird Flu Kill Humans? | Is Bird Flu Contagious And Deadly! Will, It Spread From Eggs?

Some birds may sustain and recover from external and internal injuries which mostly include broken bills, intracranial hemorrhaging, skull fractures, etc.

The survival of birds after hitting a window depends on individual species. However, if the bird is placed in a protected enclosure in complete isolation from external stimulation, the chances of its quick recovery can be increased.     

Can Flying into A Window Kill A Bird?

When a bird flies into a window, thinking the reflection of sky and trees as real, violently collides with it at high speed. This is called a bird strike which is often deadly and dangerous. Collisions may either kill a bird immediately or make them more vulnerable to predators.

Window attacks may not be as fatal as bird strikes. The impact of the collision is more severe when a bird dives at a window, sees another window through it and assumes a clear path to fly. 

Several million birds get killed every year because of window collisions. It is the second most common reason for birds’ death.  

Do Birds Survive Flying Into Windows?

Some birds may survive the impact of the collision and recover in a short period. They may get unconscious, startled, or fly off immediately. After a collision, they may sustain injuries themselves and survive. 

Window collision survivors show different recuperation periods. Thus, survival depends on the impact caused as well as on the individual bird.   

The behavior exhibited by birds that survive the impact is usually similar. The chance of survival increases if the injured bird is taken care of or taken to wildlife rehabilitation centers.   


Bird-window collisions occur due to many reasons as discussed above. However, people might perceive it according to their spiritual beliefs. But, that does not change the reality about bird’s death due to window collisions. Following the ways to prevent the birds from striking with windows is necessary to conserve and save their lives.

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