Question: A Robin keeps attacking my windows. I'm afraid he will hurt himself. What can I do, and why is he doing that?
That's a great question! This curious behavior happens every spring. American Robins are very territorial, and once a pair has established their nest site, they will fiercely defend it.
The PAWS Wildlife Center receives many calls from people concerned about Robins attacking or pecking repetitively on their windows—we’ve even heard of Robins attacking the rear-view mirrors of vehicles.
The bizarre behavior occurs when birds see their reflection in windows or mirrors and think it’s another bird trying to take over their territory. This activity usually continues through the nest-building, hatching and nestling stages.
The window-pecking can last several months, but don’t worry; unlike window strikes, this behavior is rarely dangerous for the birds.
There are several things you can do to deter birds from attacking windows. The main idea is to make window glass non-reflective. Sometimes the whole window needs covering, but primarily near the window sill where the bird will sit and continuously hit the glass.
- Cover the window on the outside with screening or netting at least two to three inches from the glass. Make it taut enough to bounce the bird off before they hit the glass.
- Install external shutters, awnings or sun shades.
- Apply one-way transparent film. You can see out and the bird cannot see a reflection (CollidEscape).
- Wipe a bar of soap on the window.
- Cover the window with a sheet, newspaper or clear plastic.
- Hang Mylar tape, an eye balloon or pinwheels in front of windows.
- Apply decals or stickers (only effective when spaced very closely to each other)
- String up old cd’s.
- For new home construction, install windows so the glass angles downward and doesn’t reflect the surroundings.