Identification of Bird Damage

Bird damage may consist of birds crashing into windows, pulling seeds or young plants from gardens or cropland, and damaging or eating fruit and vegetables. Some birds may eat fish, poultry, wild birds, eggs, and even attack livestock and people. Here are some examples:

  • Cormorants, bitterns, herons, white pelicans, and other large fish-eaters kill or scar trout, salmon, and other flume and pond-reared fish. Night herons feed at night. Others are daytime feeders.
  • Crows kill or maim young livestock, and eat eggs of waterfowl and gamebirds.
  • Eagles kill or maim young sheep and goats, deer, and pronghorn antelope.
  • Gulls eat game birds, as well as endangered bird eggs and young.
  • Hawks eat and pluck poultry and game fowl and their young. Attacks occur during daylight hours.
  • Owls eat and pluck poultry and game fowl and their young. Attacks occur during nighttime.
  • Jays and blue jays eat carrion. In winter, they maraud bird feeders and small birds. In spring, they eat eggs and young of other birds, and may take over nests of other birds.
  • Magpies pick open wounds on livestock, and eat poultry and game bird eggs and young.
  • Scrub jays eat eggs and young of game birds and song birds.
  • Eagles, magpies, and some hawks and owls can kill poultry and small livestock. Mississippi kites may aggressively dive at people.

You may be able to identify the animal causing damage by keeping watch. For example, you may see robins gathering as your blueberries or other fruit ripen. Inspect the damage: peck holes in fruit indicate birds at work. Slippery sidewalks due to bird droppings are the result of a bird roost. Crows and other birds roost in large groups that can cause slippery conditions and odors because of the mass of droppings. When it comes to broken windows, you may find the carcass of the animal that caused the damage.

Birds and Windows – A Fatal Combination

The problem: Every years millions of birds are killed by accidentally colliding with windows.

Windows at Risk

According to research done by D. J. Horn and K. A. Collins…

  • North-facing windows received over 50% of the strikes
  • Most collisions occurred in May, September, and October

Solution: Reduce the reflectivity of your windows

  • Draw the curtain behind the window
  • Place objects in front of the window to break the outline and possibly slow birds down as they approach
  • Direct lights to shine out of the window
  • Soap the windows
  • Cover the window with some sort of semi-transparent film

Additional Resources to Prevent Bird Collisions