Whats the best way to clean something? Prevent it from getting dirty! Am I right?
So do you have a problem with Birds making nests on your downspout gutters? Then they end up making more and more of a mess (if you know what I mean). From scattered bird nesting materials, to the unsightly bird droppings everywhere.
Well look no further! Go out an buy you an Anti-Nester™!!!
What??? You say the stores don't carry the Anti-Nester™? Well, then here's how you can make one for yourself!
Spring didn't come early thanks to Punxsutawney Phil, but the Robins sure did. Every year, my wife and I have battled with the robins to keep them from building nests on our downspouts and then having to clean up the subsequent mess they leave.
Step 1: Research and Common Results
Ok, so seriously… every year its the same old battle. The robins show up and start building nests under the eves on the downspouts right next to our bay window. They scatter their twigs and leaves and poop all over the area. We'd go out with a broom and knock down as much as they'd build.
Seemingly, almost every other day, they'd be back at it and this would go on all summer in some cases. So over the winter I decided to come up with a plan to keep them from wanting to nest there at all. Depending on your internet word search skills you'll find almost everything you don't want when searching for keeping birds away.
Step 2: Choice Made and Materials Used
I noticed a lot of the store devices showed Owls or predatory birds, but more specifically their eyes. Also Reflective elements like CD's or sparkly rainbow materials were being used with some devices. Others involved wire protrusions to make it difficult for the birds to find proper surface to build. And of course the expensive sonic emitters which if you have a keen sense of hearing are annoying in their own right. I ended up combining a couple of these ideas. The eye of and Owl along with the glittery sparkle reflective element.
- Laser paper
- Computer software (but could easily be down by hand and markers)
- Button maker (2.5" style button maker)
- Pin back buttons (4)
- Pin front sleeve (4)
- Button acetate cover (4)
- Reflective button ring (4)
NOTE: if you don't have access to a button maker at the end I have a brief alternative to this project.
Step 3: Design and Print Eyes
Basically taking the owls eye (Orange Ring - Yellow Ring - Black Ring) and designed this graphic in my computer then scaled it to print out multiple copies.
Now luckily for me I have a 2.5" button making machine. But if you don't have access you could easily make these discs out of wood or scrap plastic and seal them for exterior use.
I already have a template for multiple buttons. I printed out one sheet which has 12 images on it.
I only need 4 for this project. But its nice to have extras in case I mess one up or decide to make more.
Cut out each eye. (Note: it doesn't have to be perfect. The edges will be hidden on the back of the button.)
Step 4: Prep Art and Build Buttons - First Half
Begin the button making process. The normal process is fairly simple.:
- place metal disc in button maker left side
- place art work
- place acetate cover
- However I'm incorporating the sparkly glitter effect on these.
(I have precut rings that I've purchase from my button distributor for other purposes. Typically used to add some extra flair to a button.)
So in this case it'll go like this:
- Metal disc
- Reflective ring
- Acetate cover
With these laying in the left portion of the button maker die, I slide it over and clamp down on the handle.
This wraps all the elements around the top portion of the button.
Step 5: Prep Art and Build Buttons - Second Half
I place in the right portion of the button maker die the style of
back I want. (There are several options you can buy for these: Magnets, Alligator clips, Bottle openers, Key Chains, Mirrors, and of course standard button pin backs).
Since I have a slew of backs I used those. I place the button back in with pin side face down. Slide the die back to the left and clamp down a second time. Slide back to the right and now I have one completed button.
Repeat this 3 more times for a total of 4 buttons.
Inspect button to make sure it assembled properly.
Step 6: Combine Buttons
With my four buttons made I used some thin fishing line to hang these with.
Guesstimate how long you'll need to hang with. Or you can go out and physically measure the distance of the space. (Hint a bit more is better than to short, you can always trim off excess)
I tied a slip knot in the end of the line and looped it around the pin part of the button and tighten.
Take two buttons and put them back to back (you can even interlock the pins through each other if you want) so you have an eye on either side.
Holding them together put a bead of hot glue all the way around the buttons being sure to leave the fishing line sticking out.
Do this with the next two buttons.
I made two sets (one for each side of the bay window downspouts).
Step 7: Hang the Anti-Nester™
Get a ladder and remember safety first (sometimes dealing with a ladder agains the house is troublesome, even more so when trying to get in a position with downspouts) so be careful.
I used small metal brass hooks with screw ends. I positioned these about half way out from the wall and front of the downspout centered over the downspout itself.
With the hook in position I then tied another slip knot in the end of the fishing line. And did my best to hang the buttons low enough to be an annoyance if the birds attempted to land there.
The hope is the big eye and sparkly reflector will deter them from evening trying to land.
Once I had it in a position I was happy with I tied two half hitches one the outside of the hook it was hanging from and trimmed off the excess fishing line. I did the other side two.
Step 8: Proven Success
I put these up back on the March 1st. So far we haven't seen or heard any robins attempting to land or nest. However I have seen a lot of robins sitting outside the back door in the grass looking rather miffed.
So I think my little project has achieved its goal. I think the combination of the predatory eye, along with the sparkly reflector, and the free spinning movement of the button is enough to keep them away.
Plus these are small enough and very unnoticeable in my opinion, that its not something you really notice.
Now if I could only find a way to outsmart those @%*%@!% Squirrels?
Step 9: Alternative to Button Making Version
You can still accomplish with simple items.
Plastic discs painted with rings as describe in step 3.
Reflective sticky paper can be use or CD's to accomplish the reflecting (but those are a bit bigger than I'd like).
Another option is they make reflective duct tape than you could cut in long strips to wrap around the edge of your discs. I would use plastic or something weather friendly(it shouldn't get too much being under the over hang but still) Enamel paint should last outside too.
And depending what kind of siding you have you may have a better option than the hooks I used. Maybe something that would wedge up in the gaps of the overhang siding (wish I had thought that sooner, oh well)
Fishing line I feel is still a must. This helps the item appear to be floating on its own and not as visible to the birds.
Step 10: Thanks to Everyone for All the Views.
Thanks to everyone for interest in purchasing my solution. However there is a similar product you could buy much cheaper than what It would cost me to make or what I'd have to charge you.
Although I do think my version is less noticeable and not as obnoxious.
Below is a link to a cheaper alternative. The scout in me just can’t take advantage of anyone. I just made mine to solve a problem using materials I had readily available.
Runner Up in the