The important reason why you shouldn't hang a mirror in your garden in Spring

A mirror is a brilliant way of bringing the indoors out but can pose a risk to the wild birds in your garden

two gothic-style mirrors on a table propped against a stone wall
(Image credit: The National Trust)

A garden mirror can totally transform an indoor space, creating the illusion of depth, and bouncing light around. The same is true for your garden, but of the many small garden ideas out there, this one comes with a small hazard warning - particularly in spring.

As with windows or glass patio doors, birds don't always recognize that a mirror is there, and occasionally fly into them. If you have lots of birds visiting your garden, it may be best to steer clear of this trend entirely for your peace of mind.

arched garden mirror

(Image credit: Alamy)

We love the idea of a vintage garden mirror set behind one of our favorite plants or positioned in a more shady spot. However, there's always a small risk that our feathered friends will hurt themselves, which is heightened at a certain time of year.

Tammy, a backyard birding expert of more than 20 years from (opens in new tab) says that garden mirror ideas can pose a hazard to wild birds. 'This is especially true for males and during the breeding season as they can mistake their reflection for "the competition" which puts them in fight mode,' she says. 

'If this happens, they'll aggressively fly into the mirror to defend their territory or mate which can result in injury or in rare cases, death.'

garden mirror on white brick wall

(Image credit: Garden Trading)

'If they crash hard enough, they can get seriously harmed,' Dr. Georgina Ushi DVM, veterinary writer at WeLoveDoodles (opens in new tab), agrees. 'Still, it is important to consider that this isn't as common as one might think, but the danger is always there,' says Dr Ushi.

Breeding season takes place every spring, so if you hang your mirror before and after spring this will help to make your garden safe for birds. Another thing to consider is that birds are less likely to fly into frosted or antiqued mirrors that have imperfections on the surface of the glass. 

Placing a mirror behind a hanging plant or trellis ideas for gardens will also create a barrier between the birds and the solid glass of the mirror. So if you opt for a Crittall-style mirror with glass that has some kind of patina effect on it, this will reduce the risk of any issues.

distressed garden mirror

(Image credit: Rockett St George)

You can definitely work around the problem by paying close attention to your garden. If you know there's a certain spot where local birds tend to flock, common sense tells you to place a mirror elsewhere. 

Size is another key factor – take a look at our guide to the best garden mirrors, which has a variety of sizes and shapes.

One other word of caution when it comes to garden mirrors. Never place a mirror in direct sunlight as it could cause a fire by reflecting the hot sun rays.

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.