Sometimes art projects can do more than just express creativity. In the case of painted windows in New York, they could actually save a life.

The spring season is an active time for nearly every living thing. Plants are growing (even the four carnivorous plants that are native to the state), bears are stretching their legs, and porcupines are getting ready to eat cars (no, really). Another species in the animal kingdom, however, needs our help.

Photo of a reflective window in Newburgh, NY that could be harmful to birds
Reflective windows like this one can spell danger for New York birds (TSM Poughkeepsie)

There are more than 10,000 species of birds in the world, with roughly 450 of them spending time in New York State. While feathered friends like the giant pileated woodpecker may spend their time banging their heads against trees, other birds (like the American robin) accidentally choose windows and glass doors to crash into. That's where the paint comes in.

A reflective window next to an open window with a screen in Newburgh, NY
Look at the difference in reflections with a glass window and an open screened window (TSM Poughkeepsie)

The New New York City Audubon estimates that almost a billion birds get hurt or die from glass collisions annually in the United States. Whether the glass appears invisible, reflects vegetation, or even shows a reflection of the bird (below), clear glass is an enemy of flying creatures far and wide. Luckily, an art project can both look great and save birds... if it's done correctly.

A seagull looking at its reflection in a window
Reflections in windows can spell danger for New York birds (MatusDuda via Canva)

While using window screens, hanging parachute cord, or even applying decals can all help deter birds as well, painting could be a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy. Several painting tips include:

3 Tips for Bird-Proof Window Painting

- Use a temporary paint like Tempera, which is long-lasting but washable

- Paint on the outside of the glass (interior painting can be hidden by reflections)

- Lines and images should be no more than two inches apart from each other

Watch a tutorial on bird-proofing your windows with paint below, and keep scrolling to see which local birds could be saved in New York.

29 Beautiful Backyard Birds of New York State

These are 29 of the most common birds found in New York.

Gallery Credit: Traci Taylor

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