Spring Cleaning is for the birds

Every winter, I sit inside with my hot cocoa, watching Netflix, working on my art, or playing games. Each winter, I sit inside SURROUNDED by all of the clutter and dust. Each spring, I get so tired of it that I HAVE to do something about it! I create bags and boxes to take to thrift stores. I dust every inch, I bleach and sanitize my shower curtain, I scrub down the walls and baseboards. BUT….. I DON’T clean my windows, and there’s a reason for that!

Well, I clean the window frames. But I don’t clean the glass panels themselves! Did you know that roughly one out of ten birds in North America will die due to window strikes? Why does this happen?

First of all, birds haven’t been trained to perceive glass in the same way that humans have. How many times though, have we, educated human-beings, bumped into doors or walls because they were glass and we were moving to fast or not paying attention enough to notice? For us, we usually shake off the embarrassing encounter and hope no one noticed, but for birds, it’s often a one-time experience that they don’t get to learn from.

Birds see the habitat on the other side of the glass and fly at full speed (they have no reason not to fly as normal to get to the trees on the other side!) – colliding with the solid surface. The result is a broken neck, spine, or wings, and some internal bleeding. These collisions are usually fatal.

Birds may also see their own reflection and get territorial, thinking it’s another bird and not themselves. Cardinals are notorious for this each spring. While these birds may not collide with the windows, they may attack the reflection. This consumes a lot of unnecessary energy and the bird may injure themselves during the stressful encounter.

Fortunately, there are ways to prevent window strikes!

  • Hang strips of mylar (the shiny stuff that makes up helium balloons) or CDs that flutter and shine in the wind. This deters many birds who become confused or annoyed by it.
  • Put screens over all of the windows. Can your window open? Add a screen and enjoy the breeze while also protecting birds!
  • Stick things on the windows. Sometimes you can create a frosted window appearance with window tapes. This frosted window reduces glare and reflections. The birds also won’t be able to see through it to the other side! Window clings are a great idea as well to help break up reflections and prevent the birds from thinking that they can fly through.
  • Reduce the spring cleaning! Yes, my windows have dog nose prints all over if they’re low enough. Yes, there are random dust spots and smudges. BUT – these all help the birds realize that something is there and it’s not just open space! The more we make our windows squeaky clean, the more likely it is for birds to think that nothing but air is there and they can fly through.

So doing a complete overhaul of your home and getting rid of excess clutter is great – but remember, keep bird populations in mind when you go to Windex that window! (And maybe thank them…. it’s one less chore!)

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Check out my time lapse illustration of these birds! Then, snag your sticker set of them in my shop!

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