Intro: Bird-Strike Prevention
Save the bird-skulls from serious smacks! Birds often mistake the reflection off our window glass for clear skies. Head-first collisions kill thousands of birds every year. Those of us who put out feeders may create an even more strike-prone situation, unless we provide birds with a visible barrier they know they can't fly through.
I've seen a number of ways to alert birds to the presence of a window so that they don't fly into it, but most seem to be more visible than I'd like. Taping bird-netting over the exterior of the window provides them with a visible barrier, and me with an unobstructed view of the visitors to my feeder.
Step 1: Supply List
You will need:
- Rain-X or a similar glass-wax treatment
- Toilet Paper
- Cutting device--I prefer to have both scissors and a knife
- Outdoor double-sided window-kit tape: I prefer the Duck brand over the 3-M or Scotch, as it seems to stick much better even when cold
- Bird netting (usually used to protect fruit crops)
- Clear one-sided tape (office-style)
Step 2: Clean the Window
You'll be blocking the window from easy cleaning, and I'm not fond of having to take the treatment down and put it back up on a frequent basis. I use Rain-X to give it a stain-resistant coating. (Once upon a time, there was an even better product called "Glass Wax," but I haven't been able to find it in many years.) It'll last through up to a year of rain without needing to be washed, because the rain beads off so well that it leaves no water-marks. Bird-poop can be washed off with a hose or a hard squirt with water from a spray-bottle; if it's dried on, you might be able to dislodge it by wetting it, allowing the water to soak in, and then blasting it with water.
- I HIGHLY recommend using toilet-paper to wash, dry, and apply the Rain-X. It leaves a tiny bit of lint behind, but the lint wipes off or blows off easily, and it's just really good at leaving the glass streak-free.
- Wet the window thoroughly to suspend dirt, before washing it. Wiping without enough water means you're shoving dirt-particles into the glass, usually causing micro-scratches that dull your view.
- Wash both sides of the glass (so you're sure that smudge you're looking at is actually on the side you're trying to clean).
- Dry thoroughly.
- On the side you'll be placing the netting, apply Rain-X as directed
- Allow to dry on the glass
- Wipe / polish Rain-X with toilet paper or a clean microfiber cloth until the glass is crystal-clear.
Step 3: Apply Double-sided Tape
- Place double-sided tape around the perimeter of the window.
- Tip: I generally put an extra tape side-by-side along the corners, where tension might be higher.
- Depending on the surface of the window frame (delicate paint, weathered wood, etc), it's perfectly okay to put the tape directly on the glass.
Step 4: Size and Cut the Bird Net
Bird netting is usually used to protect fruiting bushes, vines, and trees from hungry birds. It's made of fine-filament plastic, with a mesh-size of between 1/2" and 1" (1 - 2.5 cm). Even the smallest package of netting is probably sufficient for a large patio door, but check your dimensions before purchase.
- Stretch out the bird-net next to the window, and cut to size.
- For the most unobstructed view, it's good to have a precise fit; however, leave an extra inch in each dimension (you will trim in the final step).
Step 5: Apply Netting
- Be sure your hands are clean
- Apply netting to double-sided tape. (If you have dirty hands, the dirt will get onto the tape and reduce it's stickiness.)
- It might help to have an extra person to help with this, as bird netting has a mind of its own and seems designed to catch on any random object in the area. Try to get the filaments to line up exactly with the edges of the window (assuming it's a rectangular window).
Step 6: Apply Second Layer of Tape
- Run a layer of transparent tape over the double-sided tape, trapping the bird-net between the two layers of tape.
- Check your work to be sure that the netting is firmly secured on the entire perimeter, and that there is no exposed double-sided tape (as it will attract dust).
- Use razor-blade (or scissors) to trim any excess netting.
Step 7: Watch Your Birds!
I find that I can't really see the netting from a distance, unless I specifically focus in on it. I have had only one bird-strike since I put the netting up, and it was a low-speed impact. ( Drunken bird? ) Other ways to help protect the birds is to make sure that the feeders are within three feet (one meter) of the glass--if birds do mistakenly fly at the glass, they won't have built up much speed before the impact.