Millions of songbirds hatched in Wisconsin over the summer will fly south for the first time this fall, and Bird City Wisconsin and other bird conservation groups are asking Wisconsin residents to act now to prevent the migrating birds from colliding with home windows during fall migration.

The Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership is offering a free webinar to demonstrate three easy ways you can prevent birds from colliding with home windows as they migrate from and through Wisconsin. The webinar, which first aired Aug. 23, is part of the Stop the Fallout campaign.

North American bird populations have declined significantly over the past 50 years, and birds colliding with windows is a major threat. Research has shown that nearly one billion birds die every year in the US after colliding with windows, nearly half of them home windows.

Bird-window collisions can happen year-round, but research shows they are worse during spring and fall migration. The toll is greatest during fall migration, when in addition to adults, young, more inexperienced birds hatched earlier in the summer are flying south. Some of our favorite songbirds are most vulnerable to colliding with buildings. Here are the 15 birds most vulnerable to collisions with home windows:

  • Purple Finch
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Ovenbird
  • Brown Creeper
  • House Finch
  • Black-and-White Warbler
  • Cedar Waxwing
  • Field Sparrow
  • Wood Thrush
  • Swainson’s Thrush
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Blue Jay
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

Fix one window

“Birds colliding with windows is a big problem everywhere, and some people don’t realize their windows may be killing birds,” says Karen Etter Hale, who chairs the Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership, a collaboration of 180 organizations in Wisconsin committed to sustaining the state’s native birds. “This webinar is a great chance to find out what you can do to easily address one window that is the biggest problem for birds, and to take action before songbirds begin migrating this fall,” she says.

The webinar is presented by Brenna Marsicek, who coordinates Madison Audubon’s Bird Collision Corps volunteers, who monitor buildings during spring and fall migration to document birds killed in collisions with windows. Corps members work with building owners to address the most problematic windows.

Marsicek, also Madison Audubon’s director of communications, talks about why birds collide with windows and which windows are likely the biggest problem. She demonstrates three easy ways to prevent collisions: dot decals, a curtain of paracord, and using tempera, or washable paint, to make a design on the window to break up reflections. She also covers why some methods, such as using a single silhouette of a raptor or a few decals placed on the inside of a window, don’t work well.

Discounts offered

As part of the Stop the Fallout campaign, which features multiple events with and by partners and displays, manufacturers of two popular home-window solutions -- Acopian BirdSavers and Feather Friendly -- are offering discounts to Wisconsin residents. Both products have been tested and found effective by American Bird Conservancy. Details about the special discounts are available on the Stop the Fallout website.


Read more:

Watch the webinar.

Learn about discounts.

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Photo by Corliss Karasov.