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wildlife frequently asked questions

This is one of many common questions we receive every year. However, to some extent, each situation is unique and different. Often, you will need to take the information provided here and adapt it to your individual situation. Feel free to call the Wildlife Staff for more specific advice. We have 24-hour voicemail and will return your call as quickly as possible.

2. There’s a bird that keeps flying into my window. How can I make it stop?

When this happens, it is almost always either a robin or a cardinal because of their bright orange and red coloration. This is a territorial behavior and indicates that they have a nest close by. The bird sees just a flash of the “robin-orange” or “cardinal-red” in its own reflection in the window and thinks that an intruding bird is there. It continually charges at the “bird” in the window trying to chase it away.

The good news is that rarely does the bird ever harm itself, even when it seems like the bird is bashing itself silly. It may even leave a smattering of blood on the window but that is usually from broken feathers that are still growing in.

The bad news is that the only way to stop the bird from doing this is to take away the reflection in the window. This is often not easy to do. The simplest but most extreme measure is to cover the outside of the window completely with newspaper or a bed sheet or towel. Visually breaking up the expanse of window glass with decals or hanging items which move in the breeze, will sometimes work. Everything must be done on the outside of the window because things placed inside the window often disappear behind the reflected sky and earth. Sometimes, placing a bright light just inside the window will be enough to take away the reflection but this doesn’t always work. Some people try scaring the bird away every time they hear it hitting the window, but this doesn’t usually work, as the bird is more persistent than humans usually are.

Sometimes, taking away the reflection in one window simply causes the bird to go to another window but, in many cases, there is only one window that is positioned perfectly to reflect the bird’s image at the right time of day.

After understanding that these birds rarely injure themselves, some people choose to simply ignore the situation and let the bird continue banging into the window. The desire to chase away an intruder of the same species is only strong during the peak of the nesting season so this behavior shouldn’t last for more than a few weeks at most.

Always, feel free to call the Lake Erie Nature & Science Center’s Wildlife Staff at (440) 871-2900, ext 204 for more information.

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