Bird-safe Halloween decorations

Tuesday, 24 October 2023

  • Estimated reading time 2min

Trick or treat? Think of the birds on your street this Halloween

It’s spooky season, and for those of us who celebrate it, Halloween is fast approaching! But Halloween decorations can be a horror story for birds and other native wildlife.  

Today, scientists estimate that around 30% of Australian bird nests incorporate human-made materials. And with Spooky Season coinciding with Swoopy Season and the breeding season for many Australian birds, it’s important to be mindful of what materials you might be making available to them. 

So, here’s how to make sure your Halloween is a bird-friendly one – and how you can get into the spirit and help prevent window strikes at the same time!  

A silhouetted Splendid Fairy Wren
A silhouetted Splendid Fairy Wren. Photographed by: Nathan Watson

Fake cobwebs are extra scary for birds! 

When birds weave non-biodegradable materials into their nests ‒ like fishing line or polymer rope – it means that their nestlings are more likely to get tangled up, which can cut off their circulation as they grow. More plastic materials also means a higher risk of plastic accumulating in the guts of young birds. 

The fine threads within cotton wool and human hair mean that these also pose a risk of entanglement, as does fruit tree netting: which should have a mesh size of 5mm x 5mm (or less at full stretch).  

Today, scientists estimate that around 30% of Australian bird nests incorporate human-made materials. 

Dos and don’ts

Do use natural materials, such as: 

️ Straw
️ Sheep’s wool
️ Sticks and twigs
️ Leaves and other organic garden waste 


X Fishing line
X Rope/string/yarn
X Cotton wool
X Fruit tree netting 

Noisy Friarbird side profile with red eyes looking at camera
Noisy Friarbird photographed by: Kerri-anne Cook

Don’t give your backyard birds a fright. Help them take flight!

This Halloween, why not make your own spooky window decorations to help reduce the risk of window strikes?

Bird strikes are one of the biggest causes of bird deaths around the world.

Transparent windows are essentially invisible to birds, so anything that blocks reflections will reduce the risk of birds colliding with the glass!

Draw or print some ghoulish designs of your own and then stick them close together to the inside of your windows, no greater than 10cm apart across the glass.

Happy Spooky/Swoopy Season from BirdLife Australia!