6 expert-approved ways to stop birds from flying into windows, doors, and outdoor mirrors

Keep the little birdies (and your windows) safe

Blue tit on garden bird feeder
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There’s nothing better than hearing the morning chorus of birds chirping in the garden. And while you may do everything you can to get closer to nature, it’s definitely possible to get too close - and you might know this from experience if you're looking to stop birds flying into your windows.

Yes, so many people have dreams of creating the ultimate wildlife garden, and we really don’t blame them. Not only will it boost the value of your property, but inviting birds, bees, hedgehogs, and critters into your outdoor space can also create a vibrant and balanced ecosystem that benefits your plants and the world around your home.

However, things can sometimes become unbalanced. And if you’ve noticed bird-shaped marks on your windows, doors, or outdoor mirrors, it’s time to put a plan into action to keep the little birdies (and, ultimately, your expensive purchases) safe from harm.

How to stop birds flying into windows

‘It can be very common for birds to fly into your doors and windows,' explains Jamie Jones, Founder of Open Space Concepts. ‘This is because birds can’t see glass; they just see the reflection of trees, sky or plants on the other side, encouraging them to fly into the glass windows.’ Thankfully, there are ways to stop this from happening.

1. Use a soap bar

A window with a patterned film and candles on the windowsill

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Parmiter)

If you’ve recently had a bird fly into your window, door, or outdoor mirror, there’s a high chance that the experience scarred you. But if you want to take immediate measures to prevent this from happening again, Jamie has suggested a temporary solution.

‘To prevent this from happening, you need to create a visual barrier. Use a bar of soap and draw patterns or lines on the outside surface of the window. Make sure to draw vertical lines rather than horizontal lines, as the birds will be able to see this more clearly. It’s important to not leave gaps of more than 5cm between markings too, to make it clear there’s a barrier.’

And while this won’t work as a permanent solution, it should work while you decide which one of the permanent measures you want to use below.

2. Buy reflection stickers

CDs hanging in garden as reflective bird deterrent

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Although soap and water can create a temporary visual barrier, buying reflection stickers will create a permanent one. And you don’t have to worry about them ruining the view out of your windows or doors - or even messing up the aesthetic of your outdoor mirror.

Morris Hankinson, Director of Hopes Grove Nurseries, explains, ‘Double-glazed windows have the most reflection for birds, so you can stick some fun reflection stickers on the glass.’

‘They are barely visible to the human eye, but birds will see them well as they are ultraviolet. Stickers can be found in all kinds of shapes and sizes, meaning the light from them will keep birds from flying into the window.’

You also have the option to choose from tape or decorative stickers, so you can find a happy medium between practicality and aesthetics.

Morris Hankinson of Hopes Grove Nurseries
Morris Hankinson

Morris Hankinson is the founder and managing director of Hopes Grove Nurseries Ltd, the UK’s only specialist grower-retailer of hedging plants. He established the thriving business in 1992, shortly after graduating with a Commercial Horticulture Degree from Writtle College, Essex.

3. Make the most of nearby structures

Dining table under a wooden pergola in the garden, with cream linen table cloth and festoon lights strung overhead

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Birds typically fly into large windows and doors at the back of a house rather than the front of a home - and our Senior Digital Editor, Jenny McFarlane, realised that for herself when a small brown sparrow flew into the rear sliding doors of her house in the early morning.

But while this can result in some nasty accidents, you can also use your back garden (and its structures) to your advantage when trying to stop birds from flying into your windows.

Murray Michel, Garden Product & Technical Expert at Clear Amber, explains, ‘When it comes to outdoor structures like pergolas, there are several measures you can take to prevent bird collisions.’

‘Firstly, consider hanging decorations such as wind chimes or ribbons around the structure. These decorations create movement and sound, alerting birds to the presence of the structure and deterring them from flying too close.’

‘You can also use dense plants and vines around the pergola to act as a natural barrier, obscuring the structure from birds' view and reducing the likelihood of collisions.’

And if you want to do this as quickly as possible, opt for fast-growing climbing plants to grow around these structures. If you don’t have a pergola, however, you could check out the best pergola ideas to inspire your next garden project.

4. Choose your mirror wisely

outdoor table and chairs on paved area with green painted wall and outdoor mirror

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Outdoor garden mirrors have grown in popularity over the years, and it’s not hard to understand why. As well as adding personality to your outdoor space, these garden mirror ideas can also make a small garden look bigger.

But if you’ve noticed bird-shaped marks on your mirror, there’s a high chance that your outdoor mirror is confusing the birds in your garden. Because of this, you should choose your mirror wisely.

John Clifford, garden expert at Gardenstone, explains, ‘Outdoor mirrors can be a death trap for birds as they can fly straight into the glass or even perceive the reflection of themselves as enemies. To prevent this you can opt for an antique or vintage-looking mirror with slight speckles on the glass, reducing the crispness of the reflection.’

‘Similarly, many outdoor mirrors have metal designs on the glass. Not only does this add visual interest, but it will obstruct the majority of the glass.’

Thankfully, it’s not hard to find mirrors like this.

5. Plant extra hedges

Flowerbed with Agapanthus, Foxgloves, Salvia and Cosmos with a lawn in the background. The garden of a semi detached period house in Islington, North London, home of Adam and Irenie Cossey and three children.

(Image credit: Photoworld Ltd)

When birds have a lot of open space to explore, they will fly around - even if that means they’ll fly right into your windows or doors in the process. You can distract them and stop them flying into your windows, door, or outdoor mirrors by planting extra hedges and plants, though.

Morris explains, ‘If there are areas in the garden with much more interest than window reflections, birds are more likely to stay where the food and shelter is. This doesn’t mean it won’t happen, but it does help limit the possibility.'

‘Providing hedgings such as native hawthorn, blackthorn, and holly will help, and hedging such as thuja, yew, and laurel will help birds to find nesting space and food.’

Yes, there are so many different hedging plants to choose from, so you can tailor your choice to the rest of your garden’s aesthetic and your requirements.

6. Move bird feeders

Two birds on seed-filled plastic bird feeder

(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you have a bird feeder in your garden, you may have spent your time wondering how to protect your bird feeder from rats and squirrels. But one thing you might not realise is that the placement of your bird feeders could contribute to the number of birds flying into your windows.

‘If bird feeders are close to the house, this raises the risk of birds flying into the windows. Keeping the feeders at a safe distance but where you can still see the activity is a good approach to ensuring they stay where the food is.’

So, move your bird feeders to the far end of your garden - and, if possible, avoid using window-mounted feeders.


What does it mean if a bird keeps flying into your window?

According to Morris from Hopes Grove Nurseries, ‘Generally, birds flying into windows are for one of two main reasons. Firstly, they might not see there is a window there and carry on flying, especially if the window has tree or sky reflections. Secondly it might be they see their own reflection and think it’s another bird to scare off.’

To stop birds flying into your window, you need to break up the reflective nature of your windows, doors, and windows. You can do this by adding reflective decals to your window.

What to do if a bird flies into a window?

If a bird flies into your window, you first need to assess the situation. If the bird seems fine and flies off, all you need to do is take measures to prevent it from happening again.

If the bird looks injured, however, try gently picking it up and placing it in a newspaper-lined box or container. In some cases, the bird may simply be stunned and need some time to recuperate.

Call an animal expert and seek their advice if the bird still looks injured two hours later. We’d suggest contacting the RSPCA or a local bird authority near you.

So, take these measures and you should be able to stop birds flying into your windows!

Lauren Bradbury

Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.