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Study reveals Canadian homes kill as many as 22 million birds a year

There are a number of ways to minimize window collisions (courtesy: Chris Ratynski)
There are a number of ways to minimize window collisions (courtesy: Chris Ratynski)

Staff writers

September 30, 2012 — Researchers at the University of Alberta estimate that 22 million birds are killed each year in window collisions involving Canadian homes.

Canadian homes can take a deadly toll on birds, with a recent study suggesting that 22 million are killed by window collisions each year.

Researchers at the University of Alberta gathered the data from an online survey completed by more than 1,700 Edmonton area homeowners.

Those numbers were then applied to national housing statistics.

“Little research has been done to document the significance of these collisions for Canada’s bird populations, and the results show window strikes are an important factor,” said U of A professor Erin Bayne in an article posted to the university's website.

Preventing window collisions

Some collisions are unavoidable. Researchers believe many fatalities are caused by "panic flight", a phenomenon that occurs when a bird is caught off-guard.

Still, there are a number of ways homeowners can reduce risks.

  • Keep bird feeders within three feet of a window. 
    That way, birds won't be able to gain enough speed to seriously injure themselves, should they come into contact with a window.
  • Hang up an ornament.
    A simple sun catcher is enough to let a bird know that they're about to fly into a wall.
  • Add stickers or decals to your windows.
    Experts recommend keeping decals close together -- about a hand's width apart. Images that resemble hawks or raptors are sure to steer small birds away from your windows.
  • Keep plants away from windows.
    If this isn't possible, consider installing a protective mesh screen. There are a variety of companies that perform this service at a reasonable cost.
  • Keep your blinds drawn or install frosted windows.
    While blinds can help, they're rendered ineffective when placed against a reflective window. Many hardware stores sell opaque films that can be easily applied.

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