In the three years that we've lived in our home we've had several instances in which birds have collided with our windows. Twice they've died and both times they were cardinals. I get a bit emotional whenever animals die senselessly and unnecessarily like this. I have a special affinity for birds and cardnials mate for life, so their loss is filled with even greater sadness for me. They say that over one billion birds die every year from collisions with windows and the two that died when they flew into my home did so on the windows that the experts would have predicted were the most dangerous.
Both windows were part of a pair on the corner of our home, so when you look through one window you can see trees and open sky through the other one, which is very confusing to birds. Also, they both have white shades on them that, when closed, perfectly reflect the trees opposite them, making it seem as if the trees continue. Finally, both of them lack screens, which help prevent fatalities by providing a small amount of cushion that the bird can bounce off from. Every other time that I've witnessed a bird colliding with a closed screened window on our home, he has only been stunned and able to recover and fly away.
So, my long term plan is to get replacement screens for the windows in our homes that are without them (for some reason known only to the former owner, 6 of our windows were missing screens when we moved in), but I wanted to do something in the mean time.
I looked around online and the most effective thing to do is to use decals that cover the entire window and change its appearance so that birds can see them. I don't have the money or patience to order some of the decals that I found online, so I came up with a quick and dirty temporary solution until I can do something more effective for the long term.
Using my bird guide as an example, Steve and I sketched bird silhouettes onto black construction paper. I then cut them out and taped them up in the window. To be more effective, I need to cut out several more to fill in the gaps. Hopefully, this will help a little bit.