A cottage on the lake may be perfect for you, with bright sunlight pouring through your windows and stunning views. But even the most picturesque surroundings can be unideal habitats and downright dangerous for birds if your cottage’s windows are not bird-safe. Add in the recent trend towards larger windows which may even extend to architectural glass walls, and you have a potential hazard for your avian neighbours. To ensure your cottage and its windows are safe for birds, it’s important to recognize the risks and make some modifications where necessary. But don’t worry – it’s actually very easy to make your cottage bird-safe. 

Understand the Risks
According to a study done by the American Ornithological Society and published in the Condor, on average, at least 150 million birds die every year in the United States due to collisions with windows. You must first understand what could present risks to the birds populating the area. While bird feeders, plants, and trees are excellent ways to provide a welcoming environment for birds, they can also create a hazardous area if not prepared correctly. 

A study done by Justine Kummer, a former University of Alberta researcher, found that most fatal collisions for birds occurred in rural yards that had trees and bird feeders – just like many cottages and homes in Muskoka. So how can you make your cottage windows bird-safe?

Find the Dangers
Take a walk around your cottage and try to identify windows that present the clearest reflection. Those will be the windows which are the most important to make bird-safe. According to Joanna Eckles, a coordinator for Project Birdsafe, the sky’s reflection in a window can be incredibly dangerous for an oncoming bird: “If they’re flying straight towards a glass window, they won’t see it. Ever. What they see are the reflections of habitat or sky, things they know and need.”

Similarly, it can be helpful to reassess the placement of bird feeders on your property. While hanging them close to your cottage can be tempting, it’s the most dangerous place for birds. Bird feeders hanging too close to windows will force them to fly close and approach at a dangerous speed.

After identifying potential dangers, it’s time to make your cottage windows bird-safe. 

Make the Necessary Changes
There are three common options to make simple changes and ensure the safety of birds around your cottage. The first is to install an exterior screen to reduce the reflection coming off the window. There are different types of screens and netting made specifically with the safety of birds in mind if that’s the avenue you choose. Most windows already have screens, but if the window does not it’s a good first step. If it is inconvenient to install an exterior screen, move on to the next steps.  

A series of strings or ribbons hung vertically can be a simple way to distort the reflection coming off the window. Not only will it dissuade birds from approaching at a high rate of speed, but they can be moved to other potentially less dangerous windows.

The third option has a similarly minimal impact on your windows, with the choice of translucent tape or reflective decals. Both options will help stop birds from seeing unobstructed reflections of the sky and as a result, remain safe.   

As for bird feeders, the Audubon Society, the famous bird conservation group, makes two recommendations for bird feeder placement. Place bird feeders within three feet of the nearest window to stop birds from hurting themselves upon liftoff, or place them 30 feet or more away from the nearest window to provide plenty of space to take off.Muskoka Window and Door Centre is here to do all kinds of jobs from installing screens on your windows to completely replacing your old windows and doors. Contact us for a quote today on whatever your job happens to be.