Painted bunting collides with window

February 29, 2024

A painted bunting was among the sixty-six animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a pileated woodpecker, an anhinga, a red-tailed hawk, a common gallinule, a striped mud turtle and a big brown bat.

Workers at a business in Immokalee called the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for assistance because they saw a bird “fall from the sky.” The wildlife hospital staff member who answered the call asked multiple questions attempting to understand the situation, but all the rescuer saw was that the bird hit the ground.

Von Arx Wildlife Hospital staff examine a painted bunting suspected to have been injured in a window strike.

Volunteer Critter Courier, Shane Gaghan, kindly offered to transport the bird since everyone at the business was on the clock. The bird was identified as an adult male painted bunting.

Male painted buntings are one of the most brightly colored songbirds in North America. The blue, red, yellow, green and purple coloring is distinct and unmistakable. 

The bunting was dull and showed increased respiratory effort upon its arrival. Staff believed the bunting’s condition was consistent with a window strike. 

The bird’s arrival to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Window strikes can cause significant damage with some injuries that might not be visible, yet can still be life-threatening. Head trauma is serious and requires medical attention. Staff evaluated the bunting for signs of injury, pain and placed the bunting on supplemental oxygen in a quiet, dark animal intensive care unit to rest. A check on the bunting a few hours later showed the bunting was calm and resting comfortably.

The following morning, the bunting was bright, alert, and responsive and was moved from the ICU to a recovery space in the bird room. Hospital staff offered an insect diet ad lib. The goal was to keep handling to a minimum to reduce stress on the bunting as he continued to rest and recover from the trauma from the window strike.

Each day the bunting’s strength improved and after five days of care, the bunting was hovering and flying strong with no signs of increased respiratory effort and was cleared for release!

Colliding with windows is a leading cause of bird mortality in the United States. Conservative estimates state that in the United States, up to 975 million birds die annually from collisions with buildings and windows.

Many cities across the United States are working to save migratory birds by initiating “lights out” programs during peak migration time. Migratory birds are passing through our area right now as they head north for the summer. If you work in an office building, or live in a high-rise building, please shut the curtains/shades and turn off lights at night to minimize the dangers night migrants face.

Collisions during the day occur because birds can’t perceive clear or reflective glass. Windows reflect the sky and trees so birds perceive the reflection as an open flyway and collide with the glass. The key to preventing window strikes is to make birds aware of clear expanses of glass. Many options exist that successfully prevent birds from colliding with residential and commercial windows.

The Conservancy serves as an example for other businesses to look at when considering options for bird friendly patterned glass. Fritted glass was utilized on the Conservancy’s Environmental Studies Dormitory. Staff researched window options and found a functional, cost-effective, attractive window design that minimizes bird window strikes. 

View from inside the patterned glass windows in the Environmental Studies Dormitory
View from outside the patterned glass windows in the Environmental Studies Dormitory

Migratory birds face so many dangers; preventing collisions with windows is something every homeowner and business should do that could potentially save millions of birds’ lives every year. Visit or for detailed information on techniques that will eliminate the reflectiveness of windows and solutions that will prevent birds from colliding with windows.

If you find a bird that has struck a window, place the bird in a ventilated box immediately. A stunned bird is an easy target for roaming cats or other predators. In addition, when a bird is stunned and disoriented, it can easily injure itself further by stumbling or fluttering into a road or swimming pool. Do not offer any food or water. Bring the bird to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for professional medical attention. Call 239.262.2273 for wildlife assistance.

Recent Release

A Florida softshell turtle, a marsh rabbit, four eastern cottontails, a Virginia opossum, three grey squirrels, and a sandwich tern were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website to view all the great work being accomplished at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The von Arx Wildlife Hospital receives no local, state or federal funding; our work is supported through memberships and donations. Your volunteer time, donations, and memberships are vital in helping us continue our efforts to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is the Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, Florida 34102. Call 239-262-2273 or see