Sadly, many Australian birds die every year when they fly into windows. Homeowners are sometimes unaware of these impacts unless the bird leaves a mark on the glass, but other incidents can result in cracked or broken windows. Find out why birds commonly collide with double glazed windows, and find out what to do if you experience this problem at home.
Why birds collide with windows
Experts estimate that millions of birds around the world die because of window collisions. Most often, these collisions occur because the bird does not realise the glass is there. The bird sees the surrounding landscape in the reflective surface and wrongly assumes it is flying towards grass, trees or the sky until it is too late. Similarly, if a bird panics and flies away from a predator, the unfortunate creature may inadvertently fly into the glass.
In some cases, birds will actually attack the window. For example, the Australian peewee bird commonly attacks its own reflection in the glass because he believes he can see another bird. This problem normally only occurs during the breeding season, but a particularly aggressive bird could cause damage.
Double glazed glass versus regular windows
Double glazed windows are popular with homeowners because they are stronger than a conventional single pane. If a football or another object collides with a single pane, the window will probably break because the force bends the sheet of glass. A double glazed window is more durable.
The sandwich of air between the two panes of a double glazed window acts as a cushion, slowing down the colliding object and distributing the force equally. As such, if a bird hits a double glazed window, you'll probably only see damage to the first outer pane. Of course, in an older double glazed window, where the pressure seal no longer works properly, a bird could still break both sheets of glass.
You may have different repair options if a bird strikes your double glazed window. Of course, you may sometimes only have a slight scratch or mark that you don't need to repair. However, if the bird cracks the outer glass sheet, he or she may also cause a problem with the insulating void between the panes. Cracked glass may allow air to escape, rendering the unit useless.
If the damage isn't too severe, a double glazing specialist can sometimes replace broken glass and reseal the unit. It's a good idea to contact the company that installed the windows for you if possible, as they can often do the work at a discounted price for you.
If the damage is severe or the window is quite old, a glazier will probably recommend that you replace the entire unit. This may seem like a sizable cash outlay, but you may regret paying to reseal a window that fails soon after the work due to another issue.
In either case, your homeowner's insurance may cover the cost of the work for you. Check the details of your policy to see if you have the right coverage. Check also to see if you have a policy excess to pay on your first claim, as this can sometimes mean that it's cheaper to pay for the work yourself.
Preventing bird collisions
If one bird collides with your window, there's a reasonable risk the same sort of accident could happen again. As such, you should investigate ways to prevent birds hitting the glass. Measures you can take include:
- Moving bird feeders closer to the glass, so the birds don't get up enough momentum to hit the glass too hard
- Closing blinds and curtains to stop the glass reflecting the garden
- Fitting bird screens that stop birds getting to the glass
- Installing reflective film on the glass
Talk to your window supplier about other special products and treatments that can cut the risk of a bird collision.
Bird collisions kill and injure many Australian birds, but they can also damage double glazed windows. If a bird breaks one of your windows, consider preventive measures that could prevent future repair bills.