Millions of wild birds die each year after hitting the windows. Is there any reliable low-cost way how to prevent them from doing it?
Even though I am not a birding expert (yet I build couple of feeders with nice little roofs on them), the methods are quite clear so let’s analyze and compare them.
Why birds often hit the windows
When figuring out the reason why birds often fly into windows we must accept one important fact and that is that people do not see things the same way as birds.
1.) Some birds have their eyes placed in the front of their head.
That gives them vision very similar to people. This type of vision is called binocular vision
which means that the fields the eyes see do overlap and certain things are perceived with both exes at the same time. Such birds (mainly predators like owls, eagles) have good perception of the distance. The most of non-predatory birds have their eyes placed on the sides of their head.
The fields of vision do not overlap (monocular vision)
which gives them much wider view but reduces their ability to perceive the distance from the objects in front of them.
2.) Birds are not people, have not invented the glass and do not know what windows are
(OK some dirty ole parrots know them very well but the majority of wild birds don’t). They can perceive the glass of the window in 3 ways (A, B, C).
(A) When there are no reflections on the glass, it can appear to them transparent. Birds simply see what’s in the room and if it doesn’t threaten them they may want to fly into the room
but hit the window instead.
(B) They can see the window semitransparent which means that they see both the interior of the room and some exterior reflections.
(C) They see the reflections in the window, e.g. they can see themselves, considering their own reflection an intruder and may attack it,
hitting the hard glass.
3.)The birds can see things beyond human perception.
There’s nothing mysterious with it, simply, the most of the birds see also in ultraviolet (UV) spectrum
of the light, while people do not perceive it. That means that birds can see the reflections on the window even in situations when people would not see them.
Ways to stop the birds from flying into windows
Apart from the alley cats, no one likes dead birds in their garden. Personally, I would rather see them twitter on my new prefab wood garage
than laying lifeless under the window. Here are some tips to avoid them.
Tip #1 - never wash your windows
No, I am not serious, of course you should wash your windows but - definitely - this would work. Dirty enough windows would be perceived solid objects by birds just like the walls. No insight, no reflections, no dead birds.
no, this just was a joke.
Tip # 2 - the stick-on birds
You can buy paper silhouettes of a predatory birds (eagle, hawk) and stick them on the window. You don’t even have to buy them. Just draw the silhouette (based on some picture from book) on the paper, cut it with the scissors and stick it on the window.
The silhouette must be realistic, best if it shows the predator in hunting posture. The problem is that the birds get used to it over time. For example, I live near the large bakery. For years, this bakery has problems with birds trying to feed on the grain and flour they stock. Of course, they tried everything to prevent the birds from flying in the factory, they also tried the stick-on birds. Nice, professional pictures in realistic postures and dimension. Worked for limited time. After some time, the birds were flying in and out the factory again, regardless of the eagle stickers. Now they have window screens everywhere.
yes, you should try it at least. You can make them yourself, maybe with a little help of your children (they will like it, it will be a mission of the day for the little guys) at zero cost. If it stops working for you, nothing happens.
Tip # 3 - the window screens
The window screens will not prevent birds from flying into the windows (though they may reduce the occurrence) but will definitely protect both bird and the window during the crash.
I suppose that majority of people would feel sad seeing birds dying at their window sill. I would for sure and if that happened often I would try to find out how to protect those birds. If the window is covered with the screen (typically an insect screen made of thin metal wire, fiberglass or synthetic fiber) and a bird flies into it, the crash is much softer
and the bird - though shaken - recovers from it almost immediately without any injuries. The window mesh also protects your home from insects.
depends on dimensions but typically $10-$50/window
yes, even though occasional crashes with birds must be still expected, the window mesh will protect both window and bird
Tip # 4 - ultraviolet window decals
Like the paper hawk stickers, these decals are also to be sticked on the window, the difference is that they are transparent for people (so that you can still enjoy the view from the window) but opaque for birds.
This is achieved by special layer of the decal which reflects the ultraviolet (UV) light making it visible for the birds. The window decals are not meant to threat the birds (like the paper predator stickers) but rather to create a virtual wall visible on for them therefore one decal is not enough and you will have to buy them many and literally wallpaper the window with them which makes this method little too expensive.
yes, even though occasional crashes with birds are still possible
So what is the best method to keep birds from crashing into windows?
In my opinion it is the window screens. At medium cost you will get reliable shield protecting both bird and window. Currently there are many window screens available on the market that last quite long time (e.g. vinyl covered fiberglass screens), their installation is easy and require almost no maintenance (shower them twice a year in the bathtub, that’s all).
And what is your experience? What works for you the best? Share it with us in the Comments...
Rotary hammers vs impact drills
First of all, impact drills are not rotary/demolition hammers and should not be used for hard jobs like demolitions. Everyone knows the 10 minutes howling of a 500W impact drill whos owner (in vain) tries to drill a 1/4 inch hole for a book shelf.
The mechanical impact of a standard impact drill is strong enough to drill couple of holes in a brick wall but has - more or less - only a supporting function. Still, the main task of such drill is to drill holes to various materials... without an impact.
What makes a rotary hammer... a rotary hammer?
The main difference between the rotary or demolition hammer and the impact drill is the impacting mechanism of the hammer which is pneumatic (or electro-pneumatic which is the same). The extreme impacting power of such mechanism makes even the drilling of thick holes into concrete an easy job.
How to drill with the pneumatic hammer
First off, don´t push the hammer drill too much. I am not joking. Pushing the hammer too much is the biggest mistake people usually do when drilling with demolition hammers.
The construction of the pneumatic impacting mechanism causes that the stronger you push the drill towards the wall the less power the impact mechanism can transfer to the drill bit. But back to the pneumatic hammer classification.
Pneumatic hammer classification
The manufacturers often recognize 2 main categories of pneumatic hammers:
1.) rotary hammers (do both drilling and hammering often called also combination drill hammers);
2.) demolition only hammers (no drilling, just the chisel);
You can guess that the majority of pneumatic hammers these days belongs to the COMBI category which means that such power hammer offers a fair comfort for its user no matter if he/she drills some holes in the walls or removes the old tiles in the bathroom.
Of course, for the real professionals who do these works daily, there are specialized tools available that do only demolition (but then they do it perfectly).
How the power of the impact is measured
The power of the impact is often expressed in energy units, the Joules (J). The low-end products start at 1-2 Joules and the uber-professional demolition hammer´s impact energy can be as much as 60 Joules (something like a kicking horse packed in a 10 inch case, for experienced profis only (-:).
Features of a good pneumatic hammer
- various modes of operation - rotation only, rotary hammer, hammer only;
- variable-speed control - for accurate bit starting or finishing;
- reversing trigger - for removing fasteners or bound bits;
- SDS (bit system - for tool-free bit changing with automatic bit locking;
- D-handle design - for better control, ideal for overhead and downward drilling applications.
Cutting Rafters Easily and Efficiently
Building your dream home is a great achievement. This would not be complete without the right furniture, fixtures and home insurance
policy. One of the most time consuming tasks in homebuilding can be the cutting of a roof. In some cases it can take as long to cut and frame the roof as it does to frame the rest of the house. It can also require a lot of space to get the job done. It is in ones best interests to plan ahead during the course of construction to be ready when it comes time to cut the roof.
Whether the roof be a simple gable roof or a complex roof with multiple hips and valleys you want to be able to cut more than one rafter at a time. Sawhorses become a valuable commodity during the roof cutting phase of construction. Cutting a half dozen or more rafters is what you want to try for. To achieve this there are a few options available to the roof cutter.
If you only have one set of horses, nail an eight foot 2x4 flat to the top of them. This will allow you to mark and cut six or more rafters depending on their width.
The second option is to use two pair of sawhorses. Just like the previous option, nail a 2x4 flat over the top of two horses. In this instance you are not limited to an eight foot 2x4. You can use an 8, 10, 12, or even a 16' 2x4 depending on how much room you have to work in.
The third option is to make your own sawhorses out of a 2x10. Put legs on it just like a normal sawhorse. Again, your only limitation is what you have available for length of 2x10 and how much room you have to work.
Another time saver is to make a rafter pattern. To do this, pick the straightest piece if lumber you can find from the rafter material. Once you have determined the length of your rafter from the plumb cut to the birdsmouth, the depth of the birdsmouth, and the length of the rafter tail, transfer this information to the material. After you have marked all of this on the 2x, carefully and accurately cut the rafter. This is going to be your pattern for the rest of the rafters so you want to be precise with your cuts.
The next move is to nail stops to the top of the pattern. Cut two pieces of plywood about 6" long by 2 1/2" wide. Nail one to the top of the 2x about 2" from the plumb cut, letting it hang over both edges of the 2x one half inch. Nail the other piece just above the birdsmouth. You now have a pattern to mark the rest of your rafters without having to measure each and every one of them.
When you are ready to start cutting the rafters, lay as many boards on the horse as you can and have enough room for the saw to fit in between each one. When laying the boards on the horses, have all the crowns pointing in the same direction (When looking down a board while flat most boards are bowed one way or the other. The convex side would be the crown). Take the pattern and lay it on top of each board with the plywood stops resting on the crowned edge and mark them.
You are now ready to cut rafters. When making your cuts, cut the pencil line. Cut the plumb cut first and then move to the birdsmouth and tail. Depending on how many rafters you are cutting you may have to slide them back and forth so you are not reaching over to far to make your cuts with the saw. When cutting the birdsmouth it is okay to over cut it to totally remove the material.
Homebuilding and cutting rafters can be a dangerous job. Always exercise caution and safety when framing or using a skilsaw.
Mike Merisko (C) 2006
About the Author: Mike Merisko has been a carpenter for 26 years. Most of those years were spent in the homebuilding and remodeling industries. He was also in business as a carpentry and general contractor. While that is his forte, he also has experience in bridge building, commercial construction, and exhibit building which is how he earns his living these days. You can browse through articles by him and others at his website Sawkerfs
or visit his blog at Sawkerfs Blog
Do you remember our Apshalt roofing shingle price comparator
Here is something very similar but for Cedar roofing shingle - shake price comparison tool
. Enjoy (and let me know if you expected anything more)...
And another one - an asphalt shingles wind resistance comparison tool