People passionate about nature

Birds VS Windows

A recap of our workshop to help prevent window collisions

by Kevin Miller

25 million birds are killed by windows in Canada each year. 22 million of these deaths occur from windows of houses. Only cats kill more birds (200 million). Wind turbines kill 24,000 birds in Canada each year. These are just some of the facts I learned at the Birds vs. Windows workshop on Tuesday January 29th, the first of Nature Manitoba’s 2019 workshop series.

I also learned that it is easy to prevent your house’s windows from killing birds.

Dr Emily McKinnon (Bird Biologist, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Manitoba) began by giving us a primer about the migration of birds in North America – their yearly cycle, their primary routes, how artificial light at night affects them, etc. (Another fact: Most of the birds that fly into windows are migratory birds, and the peak times for them to pass through Winnipeg are mid-April to mid-May and September.)

Dr McKinnon also told us why birds fly into windows:

·          They don’t know what a window is.

·          They are attracted by plants they see inside a house.

·          They see a reflection of vegetation or themselves in the window.

·          They see through a window to the outdoors and think it’s a flyway.

·          They are being chased by a predator and can’t turn away from the window in time.

·          They are confused by lights at night.


Birds are attracted to the fairly good wildlife habitat in my back yard, but too many of them fly into the glass walls of my house’s sunroom. One of the reasons we built the sunroom is because we wanted to enjoy the sights and sounds of wildlife – primarily birds -- in our back yard. We want to continue attracting birds, and we want to continue enjoying our sunroom, but we don’t want the sunroom to continue killing birds.

To learn about solutions, see:

·         Dr McKinnon’s Fact Sheet