Tucson Wildlife Center

Rescue | Rehab | Release (520) 290-9453

Prevent birds from crashing into your windows

Some birds crash into windows after mistaking their reflections for another bird. Some, like Cooper’s hawks, will chase birds into windows to injure their prey. Others simply don’t see the glass.

Make your windows safer with these tips:

  • Release your inner artist by using non-toxic Tempera paint or exterior tape to create patterns and images on the outside of your windows.
  • Place vertical exterior tape on windows 4 inches apart.
  • Use decals, glass decorations or mobiles. Cut raptor silhouettes from black paper and stick them to the windows, or make reflective mobiles using old CD’s.
  • Use a window screen or leave vertical blind slats open halfway.
  • Plant trees and bushes outside of windows, or along the windowsill.
  • Place feeders closer to the window (less than 3 feet) or farther away from the window (more than 10 feet).
What to do if a bird hits a window:

If the bird just seems stunned, give it time to recuperate by leaving the bird alone and observing from a distance. If the bird is still on the ground after one hour, try walking up to it. If the bird does not fly away when you approach it, it is most likely injured and needs rescuing.

If the bird is showing signs of injury (visible blood or wounds, head tilt, not using legs, drooping wing, not flying after one hour… etc.) it needs emergency medical treatment, or it will not survive in the wild. Proceed to capturing the bird or call Tucson Wildlife Center at 520-290-WILD (9453) for assistance. Please do not rehabilitate on your own.

Recommended rescue materials:
  • You will need a cardboard box or a container with air flow for the bird once its captured. Avoid using a wire crate. Poke air holes in the sides of the cardboard box and line the bottom with paper towels, newspaper, leaves or a towel.
  • A light towel to help you capture the bird.
  • A pair of gloves for your protection.
How to best catch this bird and avoid stressing it:

Hold the towel with both hands while you slowly approach the bird. Get as close as you can before gently tossing the towel onto the bird. If you are having trouble capturing the bird by yourself, have a friend distract the bird from the front while you approach it with the towel from the back. Once the towel is over the bird, swiftly scoop up the bird and place it into the box. Remove the towel carefully and securely close the box.

Immediately transport the bird to Tucson Wildlife Center for the best chance of survival. Keep sounds and talking to a minimum if possible. If you are unable to transport the bird right away, place the bird in a quiet, dark, and warm environment (if winter). You may provide a shallow dish of drinking water, but make sure to remove it from the box before transportation. Please do not feed, treat injuries, or handle the bird in any way.

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For help and emergencies, please call our 24/7 helpline at (520) 290-9453.

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