Introduction: BirdSaver

Picture of BirdSaver

Watching the birdfeeders outside our window is a relaxing pastime, but the birds themselves are very precious to my wife and I. This is why it was so concerning to us when a Pine Grosbeak crashed into the glass after being spooked (don't worry, after 45 minutes of rehab in a straw-filled bucket, she made a complete recovery). I immediately began researching methods of deterring birds from future window collisions.

To my surprise, I found nothing on Instructables that addressed this important need. That is when I found this sensible method called the Acopian BirdSaver with a simple Google search. The inventor of this method sells his invention on the website, but also encourages others to make their own (obviously the protection of our winged-friends trumps the monetary value of his device). I set about to make my own, and spread the word.

Step 1: It's a Figure-8 . . . Knot!

Picture of It's a Figure-8 . . . Knot!

The concept here is simple: suspend paracord on the outside of the window, keeping each strand 3.5 - 4.25" (9 - 11cm) apart. The idea being that birds won't fly between objects of that proximity.

Materials List:

-1/8" Paracord

-Cedar Strip (or any board)

-Screws

-Brackets (optional)

-Beads (also optional)

I started with a piece of cedar trim. It was a cut-off and happened to be long enough to cover the section of window that was unscreened. I did some crude math and figured 3.75" spacing would give me even distribution, and marked them with a pencil. I tied a figure-8 knot with the paracord for a stopper and measured what size of drill bit I'd need to counter-sink it. I came up with a 5/8" spade bit. I first drilled the larger of the holes, setting them about halfway through the board, then came back and drilled all the way through with a 1/4" bit.

Step 2: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

The height of my window is 43", so I tied my knots, then measured lengths of paracord 48" to give some breathing room (we'll trim them up later while they're hanging). I cut the ends at the base of the knots, and used a lighter to melt the frayed cord. I needed a way of hanging the board. I could've just punched some screws at either end, but I opted to use some tiny brackets I had laying around.

Step 3: Hang It

Picture of Hang It

The cedar hanger is mounted with 2 screws, one at each end, through the top of the bracket. The wooden round beads are from a massage device and the squares are napkin holders (I think), all purchased in a second-hand store. The purpose of these is to keep the paracord taught, to stop the strands from swaying too much in the wind, and to look cool; they are completely optional. The beads are suspended on the paracord using another series of figure-8 knots.

Step 4: Enjoy

Picture of Enjoy

The device works great, but probably isn't for everyone. Although the paracord doesn't impede the view, I can see where dangling ropes from a picture window could be an eyesore. There is an alternative to paracord; using monofilament fishing line supposedly is almost as effective. The strands need to be spaced at 3 inches apart, and need to be hung 5 inches from the window pane. However, based on peer-reviewed experiments, the paracord method remains the safest and most reliable method to protect birds from window collisions. As always, questions and comments are welcome and encouraged. Thanks for the interest and help save our birds.

Comments

MacGyver9 (author)2015-05-12

First, Thanks for a great solution to this problem. My wife and I have had NO bird collisions since we installed on our door/slider (4+ months ago). It's been in use for awhile and the birds have been very active lately, so thought I'd pass along my thanks.

I made only two "tweaks" for our slider. First, I used fishing sinkers on the ends of each paracord strand since they are 68" long. Second, since the strands occasionally got twisted from the wind or when our cats played with them, I cut a 1" x 36" section of foam pipe insulation and added 18" from the bottom of the strands. I cut a 1/2" slit and inserted each strand where they aligned. The foam is waterproof, keeps the strands from twisting, and doesn't cause damage/noise if it hits the glass plane of the slider.

Again, many thanks for this instructable!

Henge (author)MacGyver92015-05-14

Thank you for your thorough review and feedback. Great idea with the sinkers; I think that might be modification enough to justify making your own instructable.The more we spread this idea, the better it is for our birds.

alessandropizzo (author)2015-01-20

one of the best methods is to put a sticker of or silhouette of a bird of prey. This method has been used on many public buildings, including at my college, with great success

here's a amazon link as an example http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gardman-Wild-Alert-Window-Sticker/dp/B001F34CLE

LanaM (author)2015-01-16

Wow I would love to make one, thanks for the post.

Vyger (author)2015-01-16

There is another method recently discovered that is being adapted for high rise buildings.

If I can remember correctly, they were doing on going research into spider webbing and were very curious about the fact that the center portion of the webbing reflected UV light. They coupled that knowledge with the observation that birds usually avoid flying into or through spider webs. Well the research showed that the spiders and the birds had worked out this "system". The spiders identify their webs with distinctive UV reflecting webbing that birds can see easily. In fact it stands out in the frequency that they can see. So, the birds avoid destroying the webs and getting caught up in them and the spiders don't have to constantly rebuild because of bird strikes. With this established as a universal behavior they set out to try and adapt it to buildings and windows. They now have a glass that has a sort of spider webbing sandwiched into it. It is almost invisible to people but in the UV sunlight it glows as a clear warning to birds not to fly there. So far the prototypes have been very successful reducing the number of bird deaths remarkably around the buildings that have been retrofitted with this glass.

Maybe you could try experimenting with a home version. Something like monofiliment fishing line that glows under uv glued on the windows in a spider web pattern. There might even be a glaze that you could paint on the window. Anyway, it would be interesting to try.

ashleyjlong (author)2015-01-15

I love the intention behind this! I can understand why some people might be hesitant to install this on the outside of their house, but one could always paint the mounting block or varnish it to better match the house, right?

mmaatkamp (author)2015-01-15

You know what helps too? Just don't clean that window too well ;-)

jmyers1 (author)2015-01-15

Great idea!

peppypickle (author)2015-01-14

What a great story! I'm glad the Grosbeak was okay! Thanks for sharing and for looking out for the birds!

Amber Celeste (author)2015-01-14

Great idea! Thanks for posting this!!

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