How To Stop A Cardinal Attacking Window: Proven Steps To Stop This Behavior

August 17, 2022 // 12 minute read

Articles » The Window is not the Enemy!

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Because they feel threatened by their own reflection, cardinals can’t seem to stop attacking windows during the breeding season. They believe their own reflection is a predator trying to impinge upon their feeding or breeding territory, which leads to an instinctual attack. Find out how to stop cardinals from attacking windows with our effective tips shared below.

To prevent cardinals from attacking windows, minimize the ability to see their reflection. Close the blinds or drapes, draw invisible lines on windows, put plants in front of the windows, and use anti-collision decals or scare tape. Move bird feeders away from the windows to divert their attention.

When all is said and done, cardinals and other wild birds are only trying to protect themselves, their mates and young ones, and the area that they consider their territory. The reflection convinces them that another cardinal is entering their territory, so they get ready to pounce.

You can prevent stubborn birds from pouncing on your windows if you follow these handy tips. Use them to keep your windows, screens, and other parts of your property safe from the unintended damage caused by angry cardinals.

Continue reading to discover my best tips.

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Cardinal Attacking Window: 8 Ways To Stop It

Keeping territorial birds like cardinals away from your windows can be a real pain in the neck. This is especially true during breeding season when they begin feeling very territorial and want to protect their designated area.

But it isn’t impossible. In fact, I have 8 foolproof tips that are very effective at keeping cardinals from attacking windows and they work like gangbusters.

Ready to learn the truth? Ready to keep your window safe this year? Try these tips on for size because they really work wonders.

#1) Minimize The Ability For A Cardinal To See Its Own Reflection

Cardinals go absolutely bonkers whenever they see their own reflection in the mirror, window, or other reflective surfaces. They don’t go nuts because they hate themselves or their reflection, which would be kind of funny! 

They get really upset because they aren’t aware that they are looking at their own reflection in the first place. Obviously, they are the most intelligent creatures on the face of the earth. They think their reflection is another bird attempting to impinge upon their territory or potentially attack their mate or young ones.

The best way to stop cardinals from attacking windows is to minimize the ability for cardinals to see their reflection. A few great tips to keep them from looking at their reflection in your windows and mirrors include:

  • Place a net in front of your windows to create a physical barrier. This will deter the cardinals from flying into the window.
  • Install blinds on the outside of your window. Please remember to keep them closed when cardinals are hanging around your backyard. This will ensure that they no longer see their reflection in your windows.
  • Metallic strips are also very effective at keeping cardinals at bay. They act as a deterrent and prevent the cardinal from seeing their reflection, which would obviously make them attack the window.
  • Does the window being attacked have a screen? Make sure the screen is down at all times because it will help mar the reflection of the cardinal so that it doesn’t see itself clearly.

These are a few excellent ways to keep cardinals from attacking windows by minimizing their reflection. I have other tips that I’d like to go into greater detail about below, so stick around to learn even better tips and tricks.

#2) Place Bird Feeders In Locations Away From Windows

This shouldn’t come as a major surprise to anyone, but the closer you keep your bird feeders to your windows, the bigger chance you’ll have of cardinals attacking them.

Why?

If the bird feeder is near the window, the cardinal might accidentally see their reflection in the window as they are flying toward it. 

This could scare or anger the cardinal and turn it belligerent. Then cardinals fly directly at the window in an effort to attack the “invading” cardinal that is actually its own reflection, and they may crack or break your window in the process.

Your best bet is to keep your bird feeders away from the house and even more importantly, away from the windows. Keep all of your bird feeders relatively close together and out of reach of any of the windows.

This should help keep cardinals away from the house to a degree. But they are nosy birds and they may end up finding your windows on their own, even if birdfeeders aren’t necessarily close to them.

That’s why we have other great prevention tips to share with you today as well.

#3) Keep The Drapes Or Blinds Closed

Another great tip to keep cardinals from attacking windows is to keep drapes or blinds closed whenever possible. Sure, this will prevent you from letting the gorgeous sunlight into your home on a beautiful spring or summer day, but it’s the price we have to pay to keep the pesky cardinals away from the windows!

If you do not have drapes or blinds for your windows, please install them as soon as possible. Even better, you can install outdoor blinds in front of your windows that will keep them completely covered and protected whenever the cardinals are hanging around your backyard.

But if you prefer to just stick with the indoor drapes or blinds, keep them closed whenever the cardinals are around. This will minimize their ability to see their reflection in the window and keep your home and property safe at the same time.

cardinal attacking window
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#4) Draw Invisible Lines With A Highlighter On The Window

Most people don’t know that they can minimize a cardinal’s reflection in a window by drawing invisible yellow lines vertically and horizontally with a yellow highlighter pen.

Believe it or not, you will not be able to see the lines on the window yourself, but the cardinals have an extrasensory vision that allows them to see the whole lines perfectly even though we can’t. 

And according to OnTheFeeder.com, “Birds can see the color but humans can’t.”

This will keep the cardinals away and keep your windows safe and protected because they aren’t very fond of the yellow lines because they will minimize their ability to see their reflection.

To set this up properly, please use the following instructions:

  • Pick up a thick yellow highlighter pen from your favorite retail store or online location.
  • Clear the area around your window so that you’ll have plenty of room to stand in front of it and draw your lines.
  • Take your yellow highlighter and draw horizontal lines down the windows and cover the entire length. Make sure the horizontal lines remain 2 inches apart.
  • Now draw vertical lines across the window. In this instance, make sure the vertical lines remain 4 inches apart.
  • This invisible yellow grid will make it very difficult for cardinals to see their reflection in the window.
  • The lines do not have to be perfect. You do not need to use a ruler or straight edge to keep the lines perfectly straight. They can be a little squiggly and it will not matter.
  • The lines can be easily cleaned off of your window with a store-bought commercial window cleaner.

Related article: Best Cardinal Birdhouses

#5) Strategically Place Outdoor Plants In Front Of Windows

Do you have outdoor plants on your back deck or patio? They can come in very handy if a male or female cardinal suddenly starts attacking your back door or windows.

Ultimately, as I’ve mentioned numerous times, cardinals fly at the window or glass door because they see their own reflection as a threat to them. They do not realize that they are creating the reflection and think that another bird is trying to take over their spot.

The best way to minimize the damage from a bird attacking a glass window or door is to break the reflection so they do not see it anymore. 

Putting potted plants and other outdoor plants in front of Windows or glass doors will minimize their reflection or block it entirely. This will stop the cardinal from attacking the glass door or window, or it will prevent it from happening in the first place.

cardinal sitting on a branch
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#6) Cover The Window In Anti-Collision Decals

According to BirdWatchingUSA.org, “the reflections the cardinals see through your window are one of the main causes of the collision. All you need to do is try and distort the reflection. You can do this by placing decorative items in front of the window sill.”

Very smart people have noticed that birds tend to collide into windows when they see their own reflection. This happens because they feel like they are being threatened by another bird even though it’s their own reflection and they don’t know any better.

The same smart people have created decals for windows that will minimize the ability of male cardinals and other birds to see the reflections in glass windows, glass doors, and other reflective surfaces. These decals, in many different shapes and sizes, and work wonders at keeping glass windows and doors safe and protected.

Some possible options for anti-collision decals include:

  • Bird sticker decals
  • Colorful butterfly window decals
  • Bird feather window decals
  • Leaf medley anti-collision decals
  • Hummingbird static window clings
  • Dragonfly anti-collision window clings
  • and many other options

Homeowners can pick and choose their favorite window decals to keep them safe from attacking cardinals. Find gorgeous designs and interesting and unique window clings that match your decor while preventing cardinal attacks at the same time.

#7) Hang Strips Of Reflective Scare Tape In Front Of Windows

Reflective scare tape (ex. bird tape) is a wonderful commercial invention that keeps birds like cardinals, robins, and others from flying into windows unnecessarily. Nobody wants a vicious angry cardinal attacking their window because it could cause serious damage as we know.

This tape is a great choice because it’s shiny, reflective, and it tends to scare cardinals and other birds away quite effectively.

Hang strips of it in front of the window or windows that typically get attacked by unruly cardinals, and make sure you use plenty of this inexpensive tape to scare these cardinals away from the windows at all times. It’s a very effective bird repellent that works wonders at keeping glass windows and doors safe from attacking birds.

#8) Move Indoor Houseplants Away To Stop Cardinals From Attacking Windows

This may not be the most popular tip to share with nature lovers and those who like to keep beautiful plants in their windows. But it’s an important tip to share nonetheless because it works very effectively at keeping cardinals away from attacking the glass.

How so?

You see, cardinals are very attracted to houseplants, believe it or not. They see the houseplants inside the window and they want to get to them because they think they would make a good place to perch when they are done feeding. 

Little do they realize that these plans are behind glass, so they go flying directly into the window and crash very hard into the glass, hopefully not shattering it in the process.

To prevent this from happening, do yourself a huge favor and move your indoor plants away from the windows whenever possible. And if you must keep indoor plants, which I understand many of you will still prefer to do: consider the following:

  • Keep indoor plants that don’t require lots of sunlight. You’ll still get to keep houseplants but they won’t have to remain directly in front of your windows.
  • Place plants that require sunlight in front of windows that aren’t directly overlooking your backyard. The cardinals will likely never see it, which means they will not come barreling quickly into your window anytime soon.

I know that it will feel like a sacrifice to move your indoor houseplants away from the windows, but this is a great way to prevent the worst from happening so it’s worth it to give it a try and see what happens.

The Bottom Line On How To Stop A Cardinal Attacking Window

It can be very troubling to have cardinals attacking your windows at any given time. You’re likely afraid that they will come barreling into a window so quickly that they shatter the glass and hurt themselves.

While this is a legitimate fear, it certainly doesn’t need to dominate your life. You can protect your home and windows from angry cardinals by taking necessary but effective steps to minimize this from happening again.

The important tips that I shared to stop a cardinal attacking window include:

  • Minimize the ability for them to see their reflection
  • Close the blinds or drapes to minimize their reflection
  • Move bird feeders far away from the windows
  • Use a yellow highlighter to draw invisible lines on your windows to break up their reflection
  • Hide the windows by placing outdoor plants in front of them
  • Move indoor plants away from the windows so they do not act as an attractive perch for cardinals
  • Hang reflective scare tape in front of your glass windows and doors
  • Cover glass windows and doors with anti-collision decals

Please use these tips because they are very effective at stopping cardinals from attacking glass windows, doors, and mirrors. Thanks for stopping by to read this information. If you have any additional tips that you’d like to share, please feel free to tell us about them in the comments, and will add them to the post. See you soon!

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