Kitchener-Waterloo

Your window is deadly to birds. Guelph students want to change that

A group of University of Guelph students hope to save birds from injury or death after flying into windows. Bird Safe Guelph has provided 140 bird-proofing window kits to the community.

Bird Safe Guelph has provided 140 bird-proofing window kits to community

Hayley Wilson is the organizer of Bird Safe Guelph. The group has handed out 140 bird-proofing window kits and hopes to bird-proof all campus windows in the future. (Submitted by Angela Mulholland)

Any kind of window is a possible death trap for a bird. Birds fly into windows because they can't see glass, and often mistake the reflection of the sky or trees for the real thing.

The result is that about 25 million birds in Canada die by crashing into windows every year, according to the charity FLAP Canada.

A group of University of Guelph students hope to save at least some of these birds by encouraging people in the community to "bird-proof" their windows, using stickers or window paint to make the reflective surface look solid.

Before the holidays, the group made 140 kits available to people in the community, using a grant from World Wildlife Federation Canada and the non-profit Chantiers Jeunesse.

The kits were met with so much interest the group quickly ran out, although some have not yet shipped due to the provincial lockdown.

"I'm not surprised because Guelph really strikes me as a green community," said Angela DeMarse, a member of Bird Safe Guelph. "We have a lot of influence from the university and people interested in wildlife and nature living here."

The next step, DeMarse said, is to work with the university to bird-proof every window on campus.

In the meantime, if you missed out on the group's bird-proofing kits, DeMarse said there are other things you can do to make your home safer for birds.

Some of her tips include:

  • Use markers, paint or other decorations on the outside of windows.
  • Keeping your cat indoors. DeMarse said research suggests cats are another major contributor to bird decline in North America.
  • Turn your lights off outside your home at night. Birds are attracted to lights and may fly toward them, get misdirected and hit the windows.
  • Move your bird feeder away from the window. Although it seems like an obvious place to put a feeder, DeMarse said drawing birds to a source of food near a window can up the likelihood of a crash.
The window of a home is pictured with bird-proofing stickers installed. (Submitted by Angela Mulholland)

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