What Can I Do to Help a Bird That Has Collided With a Window?


Tags: birds,

What can I do to help a bird that has collided with a window?

Here are some pointers for the times when birds have non-fatal window collisions:

  1. It is important to remember that if a bird is stunned enough to end up on the ground, it can easily go into shock and die of hypothermia or be eaten by a predator while the bird is incapacitated. Many birds are able to fly off after window collisions, but if they are knocked out or stunned and on the ground they should be gently picked up and placed in a warm, dark, sheltered place for at least two hours. If the bird is bleeding or has any obviously major injuries, it should be taken immediately to a licensed bird rehabilitator.
  2. Initially, it’s all right to pick up the bird with your bare hands. Cradle the bird to keep it warm, but don’t restrain it. Even if it begins to struggle, if it was stunned enough to be picked up it is unlikely to be alert enough to fend for itself, so it’s best to keep it sheltered for awhile.
  3. To do this, it’s often best to put the bird in a small covered box, with a blanket or something soft in the bottom. If it’s cold outside, the box should be brought inside and put in an interior room, away from light, noise and pets. If it’s hot outside, the bird can actually overheat, so it’s still best to bring the box inside. The box should be loosely covered — perhaps with another towel or a piece of cardboard. In most instances, the bird will sleep for awhile, and after two hours or so will likely fly off when released, unless severely injured.
  4. For this short period no food is necessary. A small bit of water in a shallow container is optional — make sure it cannot spill, and that the water is not deep enough for the bird to drown if it wakes up and ends up in the dish.
  5. After at least two hours, take the covered container outside and carefully open it up, near a bush or other shelter (and away from windows!) if possible. It’s quite likely the bird will fly out of the box. If it is alert but continues to sit in the box, try picking it up or offering your hand or finger for it to perch on, then raise your hand out of the box. Then the bird may fly off.
  6. If the bird has not come to after two hours, or if it cannot fly away, then it’s time to get the bird to a licensed bird rehabilitator.

A couple words of caution! If the window collision involves a bird of prey, or some other larger birds, they can hurt you if picked up with bare hands. So in those instances it’s best to wrap them in a towel as they are picked up, staying away from feet/talons and the beak. Then they can be placed in the box and proceed as above.

Also please remember that by Federal law it is illegal to keep or possess any native non-game bird species, or any part thereof. It’s perfectly fine on a temporary basis to help one through a window- or vehicle-induced trauma, but only licensed rehabilitators are allowed to keep birds for long-term care.

—  Geoff LeBaron, Christmas Bird Count director, National Audubon Society

1/30/2020 7:51:02 PM

Would like to edit but do how

1/30/2020 7:50:53 PM

Today I had her sat on my window and didn't even think about it being a bird and later on I went outside that day and found a female cardinal on the ground I was so sad and heartbroken the next day I could hear its mate singing, I cried a tear thinking she'll never come back I buried her in the backyard I said a little prayer all our Windows have markings on it except for that one and I made sure I put markings on it to today so please mark your windows because the birds are can't see and they are left leaving loved ones behind

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters