It seems like the number of window strikes peaks this time of year. Why do birds fly into windows? First of all, birds can't see the glass, especially when the sky or nearby trees are reflected.
There are still young birds around learning the ropes and unfortunately, many times it's the inexperienced birds that fall victim to window strikes. Birds also strike windows as they quickly try to escape predators, hitting glass in a moment of panic. And during spring and fall migration, window strikes increase as birds unfamiliar with the area pass through.
Window strikes are hard to TOTALLY eliminate, but there are ways to reduce them and/or reduce their severity:
- Locate feeders and birdbaths about 20-30 feet from windows so birds have time to change direction or within 1-2 feet of them so they can't gather enough speed to cause significant injury.
- Window screens will reduce injury even if a bird flies into it. Use them where practical.
- Decals placed on windows can help reduce or prevent window strikes when placed on the outside of windows. It takes multiple decals on the window surface; one stuck in the middle won't make a difference.
- Mylar reflective strips hanging loose in from of the window will move in the breeze and alert birds flying too close to a window.
- After losing a migrating Hermit Thrush last fall to a window strike, we added Feather Guards to our large, fixed windows. This is a string of colorful feathers tied on a 6 foot length of fishing line. Suction cups hold it in place. Having the Feather Guards in place has significantly decreased - though not 100% eliminated - fatal window strikes on these windows.
After the jay struck, I righted him and he stood on his own.
He blinked slowly and held his mouth open, called gaping. He held one wing lower than the other. There was no bleeding. I spent many minutes observing, encouraging him verbally (obviously for my benefit alone), and taking some photos as he gathered his wits. The blinking behavior stopped though he maintained the gape until the time he flew off. He had a little trouble getting lift to clear the greenhouse; I heard his wings clip the roof as he flew off.
You can read more about window strikes and download a brochure at the WBU Educational Resources site.