back to article Forty Canadian birds BONKING against windows EVERY MINUTE

Shocking news from Canada over the weekend, as researchers there say that the country is in the grip of an astonishing outbreak of birds bonking against its windows. "The thud of a bird hitting a window is something many Canadian home owners experience," begins an excellent press release from Alberta uni, alerting the world to …


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  1. K

    Aggressive birds like robins are apt to collide with windows

    Had a suicidal robin that kept flying into my lounge window, one day it hit with such force it broke its own neck.. sad, but omg was it funny!

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Most people seem to either love or hate Lewis

    For better or worse I'm not like most people and never had a strong opinion one way or the other. However after that misleading headline he's definitely gone in the hate bin, at least for now. And for the record, I cannot repeat the names I called him out loud once the penny had dropped.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Most people seem to either love or hate Lewis

      Maybe you ought to re-acquaint yourself with the full range of meaning of certain words before you judge, because your motivation seems to be mainly a glaring lack of vocabulary..

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Most people seem to either love or hate Lewis @AC 11:39

        In one of Bill Bryson's books he writes about how he plays sort of word games with his American neighbour who takes everything he says literally. For example the neighbour is loading foliage into his truck and Bryson says, "I see you're camouflaging your car", to which the neighbour replies "No, I had a tree come down in the storm the other night and now I'm taking it away for disposal". He finally stops when wife tells him his conversations with the neighbour are giving him headaches. Were you ever a neighbour of Bill Bryson's? If not you must at least be American.

    2. Hieronymus Howerd

      Re: Most people seem to either love or hate Lewis

      I dunno, I expected a graphic report of tits being firmly slapped against glass, and that's essentially what I got.

  3. Crisp
    Paris Hilton

    I clicked on the link

    I was sorely disappointed at the lack of pictures or footage of half crazed birds slamming into windows.

    Paris. No end of pictures or footage there.

  4. Shane Mussell

    Reminds me...

    When I was working for a large Turbine company, a couple of years back, they had statistics of bird strikes.. As you can imagine you get a few with those big blades whooshing about a bit.. Anyway there was a massive outcry initially because of these deaths until some bright spark pointed out more birds die each year from BT phone boxes than Turbine blade strikes... Which might explain why the newer BT phone boxes have all that rubbish advertising on the glass these days..

    ... Failed to take into account that you wouldn't get an eagle flying into a phone box (well very unlikely, after all who would they call?) and that there are many more phone boxes than Turbines (although that's changing too)...

    Still this article made me chuckle as we have had three of four crash into our windows this year.. Not to mention the damned Doves that insist on making a nest behind the Sky mini-dish and landing on the LNB to hand over grass and what not.. :P

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: Reminds me...

      I think we'd better ban clear glass panels of more than 10cm x 10cm - all larger panels will need to be bedecked in advertising stickers to prevent avian-genocide.

      With all those studies of birds hitting turbines, did anyone ever look at helicopters as a potential bird-killer for comparison?

      1. Severen

        Re: Reminds me...

        Yeah, those really quiet helicopters are a stealthy menace. :-D

  5. mad_dr

    Oh Canada...

    The birds known as robins in Canada are far larger than the British variety so probably hit with quite a thump. My in-laws house on one of the Gulf Islands just off the east coast of Vancouver Island regularly has bald eagles in the back garden - definitely not something you want hitting your window at speed.

    Having said that, they had to start locking the front door at night a little while ago; they were finding that it would somehow open itself every night. It was only after a rainy spell that turned the front garden to mud that they came down one morning, found the front door open again and spotted hoof prints leading to the kitchen; turns out that the local deer had discovered a nice warm place to come and steal from the fruit bowl...

    1. DanceMan

      Re: Oh Canada...

      A Gulf Island on the *East* coast of Vancouver Island?

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: Oh Canada...

        Several islands (such as Denman Island) exist in teh gulf between Vancouver Island and the City of Vancouver.

    2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Oh Canada...

      Bloody robin broke my window just the other day. Didn't survive the impact, poor bugger.

  6. Arctic fox

    Where I live up the Arctic arse-end of nowhere it appears to be the annual rite of passage.......

    ...........for the local great tit clutch to fly into our kitchen window at least once whilst they are learning what that strange see-through stuff is. We have never yet found a body on the terrace though, they just seem to land, stagger around a bit for a while and then fly off. Our nickname for them is the flying circus, usually six, seven members - crazy as larry and great source of pleasure and amusement.

  7. John H Woods Silver badge

    Would be interesting to determine...

    ... if the practice of fixing a hawk silhouette sticker to the window has any effect on collision rate.

    1. hplasm

      Re: Would be interesting to determine...

      Lots of amorous hawks colliding with the sticker...

  8. Nigel 11


    There must be something odd about those Canadian windows.

    In all the years I've been looking at birds on a feeder table through a picture window, I can remember only a few bird bonks and only one fatality (a pigeon). They seem to be able to see the glass. A few do have to take emergency evasive action at the last moment - that this happens rarely suggests that they learn from experience.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strange

      ...or you have very dirty windows. :)

      1. keith_w
        Thumb Up

        Re: Strange

        Finallly, an excuse I can use to avoid working on windows :)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strange

      My kitchen windows are not unusually large but there were several birdstrikes last year. Two happened when I was there. In both cases a crow had dive-bombed a pigeon on the lawn about 10 metres away. The pigeon took off in a hurry with the crow in pursuit - and bounced off the window without apparent injury. Left a very pretty "powder" image of itself on the glass - with a surprised look on its face. Presumably the pigeon thought it was a better escape route with obstacles to confound the pursuer - rather than the more obvious open garden in nearly every other direction.

      Quite why the crow behaves so aggressively towards pigeons, or just this particular one, is a mystery. Never seen any agression towards collared doves or smaller birds that share the feeding station in the garden. The crow doesn't eat any of the provided bird food either - it just uses the garden pond to wash its carrion finds.

  9. Graham Marsden

    When I was a kid...

    ... we used to live in a house with a big picture window facing west and at certain times of the year in the evening, birds would see the reflection of the sun in it and fly straight into it thinking they were going in the opposite direction.

    I'm just wondering if the same sort of thing is happening in Canada.

  10. LinkOfHyrule
    Paris Hilton

    The greasiness of birds native to Surrey

    I've actually once seen, and again once heard, bird on glass bonking action myself!

    First one was seagull vs seafront sash window - the bird ended up dead in the light-well. The second one was an unidentified bird on a window in an unoccupied room. Judging by the huge smear of grease it left behind, I suspect it was a dirty pigeon as I am led to believe pigeons are greasy birds - do we have any Bill Oddieians here who can confirm the greasiness of birds native to Surrey?

    1. LinkOfHyrule

      Re: The greasiness of birds native to Surrey

      Just to note, I am not thick (well not that thick) the first incident with the seagull happened in Kent, I am not so dumb as to think Surrey has a shore line - unless the banks of the river at Staines-upon-the-Thames is considered tidal!?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am not so dumb as to think Surrey has a shore line

        It doesn't need to be coastal - herring gulls have moved inland to scavenge on landfill and city sites in some areas.

      2. keith_w

        Re: The greasiness of birds native to Surrey

        I thought you were talking about the town of Surrey, BC - which is close to the Pacific.

    2. DanceMan
      Thumb Up

      Re: The greasiness of birds native to Surrey

      The birds in Surrey here (suburb of Vancouver) are indeed greasy.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As dawn broke..

    I was reminded of my time in the Serengeti when drums would greet the new day.

    Only in this case the drumming was birds flying into windows.

    Still, it made me feel at home. Except I had to step over dead birds.

    And it rained.

  12. Wize

    They should use the little blue birds

    They work better on glass than the yellow ones...

  13. Corinne

    Failure birds!

    Clearly they are somewhat stupid birds. Many years ago my father used to put peanuts on the windowsill of our kitchen for the squirrels, and we'd regularly get magpies swooping down and grabbing them in their claws - they didn't land, just grab them on the run. Yet I never heard or saw evidence of these magpies bumping into the window, and we were the kind of family that socialised mosly in the kitchen.

    We did have a woodpigeon or two fly into the window, they can REALLY make a thump & one did crack a pane once.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Failure birds!

      Corvids are pretty smart, pigeons not so.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Jerome 0

    Are any of them bats?

    "Feeders and bird friendly plants are unwittingly contributing to the problem," says Bayne, continuing "When you have flown head-first into my window, then you have my permission to die."

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Are any of them bats?

      I maintain (in whole or in part) several bat boxes throughout the Edmonton area, and have for most of my life. I have never in nearly 30 years of living in this city heard of a bat impacting a window. Bird strikes have been a regular part of life forever; but it has been exceptionally bad this year and last.

      I’ll go hunt Erin and have a chat with him, but I suspect the issue is directly related to the overwhelming insect bloom the city has seen in the past two years. Mosquitoes top the list, but there has been a massive growth in the Strawberry Beetle population as well…and those are just the two I know about!

      1. JCitizen

        Bats use echo-location...

        So therefore are not astounded by glass, as it reflects sound just like a wall. They do however get hamstrung on wires. I used to find them dead below the clothes line wires in the back yard. Too bad really, because I like bats; maybe I need to put a series of flags or clothes pins on the wires, so they will get a clue?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bonking birds...

    I thought this article was going to have something to do with Canadian women, NFC and a particular Redmond OS for a moment...

  17. JaitcH

    Imagine getting 'bonked' by a Canada Goose ...

    could be fatal!

    Big enough to take aircraft down. Remember the Airbus in the Hudson? Canada Geese were fingered In the Flight 1549 crash!

    Tough birds.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: Imagine getting 'bonked' by a Canada Goose ...

      Geese do not fly into windows much. Or bonk into cars, or even planes. Planes run geese over. Cars run geese over. As a general rule, geese simply don't tend to fly into things so much as things hit them.

      That said, they will chase you across the ground like possessed demons. They have attacked me on numerous occasions when I take the garbage to the curb (several nest in the bushes right by the pick-up zone,) and more than once I have had some angry idiot goose chase my car down the street for some imagined slight.

      They are mean, loud, miserable, insufferable little buggers that attack anything that moves on a regular basis. The instant they’re in the air, however, this behaviour ceases. They just aren’t manoeuvrable enough to up there to try it.

  18. keith_w

    never seen a dead bird outside my windows

    Although I live in Canada (just outside Toronto) I have never seen a bird which died as a result of flying into my living room window, although I have seen many migratory birds which died as a resulf of flying into the office towers of Toronto. I have had bird feeders closer the windows than recommended in the article. The only birds that I have ever seen near the window were hummingbirds which hovered there looking in the window when their feeder was empty.

    Perhaps birds in Alberta are less intelligent than those in Toronto.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: never seen a dead bird outside my windows

      Nah, the issue is that Alberta has this thing called "nature." As you are from the center of the universe, there's no possible way you can understand. In this "nature" (just go with it, it's a thing, honest!) we have "plants." These "plants" can provide food for birds, and also for "insects." (Yes, both plants and insects other than cockroaches exist, honest!) These "insects" can also be food for birds.

      Now, in cities that have what we like to call "green space," (places that are not the center of the universe,) both plants and insects occur in large city-owned property, as well as in and around peoples' homes. Insects get on windows; birds try to dive for the insect, and end up smacking into the window. Plants are positioned near windows, and birds miscalculate approaches and smack into windows.

      You're going to have to take it on faith though, because even if the center of the universe had any of these things, they wouldn’t cause increased bird strikes, as the birds wouldn’t be able to see them through the smog!

  19. a well wisher

    Kamikaze Wood Pigeons

    Its wood Pigeons for us in Berkshire (uk) - we get 3 or 4 strikes a week , the evidence is left on the window as an often perfectly silhouette of the birds outstretched wings. killed quite a few too, one literally exploding on impact due to a very full crop ( I kid you not)

    I'm sure I read about some special anti bird strike class just recently ?

    Big picture windows and short garden backing onto woodland , giving a refection that looks like more woods - seems to the problem here

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Owls leave a great print

    Came home one day to find a dust print of an owl on the window didn't look fatal but there are enough cats around I couldn't be sure.

    Was somewhere between sad and funny so see such a stealth predator frozen in that "Oh Sh.....!" shape.

  21. Chris Gray 1

    Sight lines

    I've never had a problem here in Edmonton, but it was a problem at my parents' house over in B.C. They had bird feeders there, and I don't here. The other thing was that they had windows on two walls of the same room, and we theorized that the birds were looking through the two windows and seeing familiar stuff beyond, and just taking a different route to it. Or so they thought.

  22. Rippy

    @ "after that misleading headline"

    The headline is pure onomatopoeia and not misleading at all; the sound of a Canadian robin breaking its neck on a large picture window is definitely "bonk".

    The bird-feeder explanation, though, is improbable. I've been overfeeding birds in my back yard (north of Edmonton) for decades and never had a bird crash at the back, while they regularly bonk into the big front window. The difference is that when they come in to the front fast and low they can see clear blue sky reflected back to them and figure they can go on forever.

    Setting the windows to slant down and in, like an airport tower, would be better for the birds (and reduce window washing), but that would look a little too geeky even for me.


  23. Maty

    and so ...

    Bird lovers have long blamed cats for the depletion of songbirds in residential areas. Yet the new kittycam studies show that cats don't hunt birds that often and aren't all that good at it anyway.

    Now we have a study that shows that bird lovers themselves are part of the problem.

    Ah .... the irony.

    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      Re: and so ...

      Most outdoor city kitties I know manage to get 2-3 birds a day here in Edmonton. Of course, there are so many bloody birds that they do not deplete the population. What does wipe out songbirds right quick is a Blue Jay moving in. They don't last long, however...the other corvids kick the Jays out right quick.

      Normally, corvids of all stripes would prey on songbirds, but around here only Jays seem to. The rest of the corvids have figured out that we all put dog food in dishes out on the back porch, and have decided that stealing from the dog dish is a hell of a lot easier than chasing a sparrow through an urban setting filled with nooks the sparrow can get into but the corvid can't.

  24. YesBut

    Say what?

    Very funny. Some creative statistics there. If it were that bad they'd be wading through birds on the streets of Edmonton. The CBC would have to do a report on this national crisis!

  25. Anonymous Coward

    How many birds are there in the world?

    I laugh when I see people get worried about a small number of birds hitting wind turbines or being killed by UK cats, or striking windows. There are so many birds, none of these things makes a difference unless they preferentially kill rare species. It is only the bleeding hearts who can't deal with even one wild animal dying through "human" causes but won't shed a tear if predators kill them by the millions.

    Tux, because he's smart enough to not run (into) windows.

  26. JeffyPooh

    Bad assumption embedded

    Re: 40 per minute windows bonks

    Bird strike against window ≠ dead bird.

    We have *many* square meters of windows and birds bang into them on a regular basis. But deaths are quite rare. In almost all cases the birds pick themselves up and carry on with their day. (Disclaimer: there remains a possibility that they fly away, just out of sight, and immediately drop dead. Could happen. Not likely to occur in many cases. Impossible to prove either way.)

    We had a one crazy exotic bird that needed about 24 hours of TLC before he finally shock it off and busted out of our improvised bird care facility.

    One pigeon was being chased by a hawk or similar and he hit with such force that he split open and left skid marks on the glass. Dead before he hit the ground. Poor thing.

    Vastly more thumps than deaths. ~97% non-fatal. One death every couple of years is about right.

    So it'd be roughly 40 bird+window deaths a minute, but about 1200 bird-window bonks a minute (20 Hz).

    By the way, we've had birds fly straight into the wooden siding far from any window. Drunk from fermented berries?

  27. Mike 137 Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    where's the paper please

    It would be nice if the link actually pointed to the relevant paper, rather than to an index page where it can't be found. As we don't know the title of the paper and a search for "Bayne" on the linked page yields nothing relevant, it's impossible to find it.

  28. DanceMan

    Not that type of bird. Not that kind of bonking. Not those Windows. Oh, ...............Lewis. Never mind.

    Robins here on the Wet Coast of NA hit windows sometimes. Rather stupid birds. Had one during the last year that was repeating banging against a tiny window of the house, and think it was a robin. Not a clean window either.

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