Besieged by bombarding birds

It may seem odd for birds to bombard a house but they get confused and can’t comprehend reflective surfaces like windows.

Birds Slam Into Windows, Leave Long Island Couple Lying Awake « CBS New York.

It has been a full week of rude awakenings for a Long Island couple, who said their home has been under siege by a group of birds slamming into their windows over and over again.

As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported Monday, the problem that Peter and Lisa Kersich of Holbrook have been experiencing is common at this time of year.

“New York City Audubon estimates that 90,000 birds die each year in New York City alone,” said licensed wildlife rehabilitator Rita McMahon, of the Wild Bird Fund Inc.

McMahon said reflective surfaces confuse birds. They either view them as more clear spaces and fly into them, or they see their own reflection and think they are seeing another bird – one they want to fight and chase away.

The Kersichs have not said the birds have been dying or even injured. Often these strikes just stun the bird for a while after which they recover. You can place stickers or materials on the windows to help the birds see the solidity and not as open space.

There is a superstitious belief that birds hitting houses is bad luck or is an omen for death or coming change in the house. The trope appears in several movies and stories. Lucille Ball was said to suffer from ornithophobia and did not like indoor birds even on wallpaper. There are A TON of other bird superstitions. It appears that people just did not understand bird behavior long ago and attributed their error in perception to something deliberate regarding humans. Not so. Accidents happen.


  4 comments for “Besieged by bombarding birds

  1. Kevin
    April 30, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    I’ll always remember when I was a kid growing up in the Northeast, during a hurricane, a bird kept trying frantically to get through a closed window and into the house. That didn’t bother me nearly as much as my Mother’s frantic reaction to it. She passed along that superstition that if a bird tries to get into your house it meant a death in the family.

  2. Eve
    April 30, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    I wonder if reporter Elise Finch saw her reflection and also slammed into the window.

  3. Lee
    April 30, 2014 at 3:28 PM

    I would scoff at that except then I would have a different point of view asking Tippy Hedron that question about death ensuing upon a bird entering the house!

  4. S. Madiosn
    May 3, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    We had quite a few birds crash into our south facing windows before we had blinds installed. We have also tried to do our best to prevent glass collisions when birds fly away from our feeders by not doing a very good job of cleaning our windows. A bit of grime works wonders. 😉

    There is some amazing research being done by Dr. Klem about this problem:

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