Bird Safe Windows
For many years I was a professional window cleaner. Throughout that time in my life, I also became more interested and active in birding (bird watching and bird activism).
Being both an avid birder and a professional window cleaner, I came to realize that our windows take many bird's lives (estimated at 100 to 300 million) each year in the US alone. It is estimated that bird/window strikes ranks third highest regarding human caused bird mortality. Studies show that a good percentage of birds that fly away from window collisions die later from internal injuries. The most tragic part of this statistic is that most of this is easily preventable. I have found that installing bird netting, bird tape, or cording over window glass can reduce bird mortality by over 95 percent. If netting is installed properly - if it is taught and set out away from the glass at least a couple inches, it is highly effective and very neat and clean looking. This netting is black and is very un-noticeable by those inside the dwelling looking out. There is bird netting over the windows in the photo above and to the right. It is much like wearing eye glasses, when you first try glasses, all you see is the frame, but over time your eye is trained to look through the glass and disregard the frames. I have installed bird netting and tape over a variety of window and door glass - and while this is a new area of learning for all of us, I have learned some things that work. It is also good to know that with tape or netting, it is super easy to clean the glass.
We're not exactly sure why bird netting over windows works. We suspect birds see this netting at the last second as they approach a window and "put the breaks on" - avoiding or lightly bumping the netting or glass. By this time the bird has reduced its speed to the point where it is not hurt.
Cording needs to be visible and installed so it hangs vertically less than 4 inches apart - apparently the birds do not like to try to fly through such narrow places so they avoid these windows.
With either bird netting or cording, materials are very reasonably priced and labor is usually a one time occurrence keeping this a very low cost way to save many bird's lives.
Here is a link to the American Bird Conservancies "Bird Tape" web site. This is a semi transparent tape that can be installed on windows to stop bird crashes. This too should be installed less than 4 inches apart vertically, but unlike the cording or netting, the tape also gives you a number of pattern choices to choose from. I install this tape as well (see photos on right).
There is also a new product on the market called "UV Liquid". It is like a big felt tip marker and though it dries clear, it obstructs the bird's reflective view. This product is meant to be used in conjunction with bird tape or decals. Dots or circles of UV Liquid are applied between the decals or bird tape to fill in gaps so birds won't try to fly through. This product is ideal for the person who doesn't mind a few decals on their windows, but doesn't want tape or decals dense enough to completely prevent bird crashes. The product's manufacturer recommends replacing the marker every 3 months or so. Here is the link to their web site. Shake the product well before using and don't press too hard or it can leave a visual stripe on the glass.
Now that we have agreed to install window protection over your windows, I am happy to give you a quote on cleaning them too.
Basement window boxes can be perpetual traps for frogs, toads, salamanders, turtles, insects, young birds and others. Even a tiny crack or opening between window box covers and the foundation of the house allows critters to get in and fall into the window box. Modern day window boxes are made of plastic or metals, both are hard and slick - making it impossible for most smaller critters to get out. They usually dehydrate and die in a short period of time.
Fortunately, a remedy to this tragedy is super easy and affordable. I have had great success in simply installing a couple sticks or a swath of hardware cloth in the window box. The sticks or hardware cloth need to be installed so they are buried in the soil or stones at the bottom and rise to the top of the window box. They need to be installed so they are directly against the wall of the window box or else some critters may not figure out that they have to back up in order to access the "ladder". Any rough object, such as a chunk of tree bark, rough cut wood, hardware cloth or window screen will work. If the window box has a cover on it, the cover must be left ajar so the little critters have a way to escape once they get to the top of the escape ladder. Again, these are little things that can make a big difference to wildlife.
Modern day wood stoves and chimneys can be perpetual bird killers. For millennium, birds have sought shelter and nesting cover in hollow trees. The interior of a hollow tree is soft and porous, so it is easy for birds to get a toe hold and escape out the top. Today, chimneys are built out of slick ceramic or stainless steal so when a bird enters it cannot get out. It seems as though wood stoves with glass doors which allow light to shine up through the chimney, tempt birds even more. Again, this is easily and inexpensively remedied by installing hardware cloth over and around your chimney cap or opening. The mesh needs to be less than one inch or small birds such as wrens will get through.
Personally I think Americans have way too much outdoor lighting. Our coal fired and nuclear power plants threaten our environment and we see fit to use that energy by lighting up the world at night while we sleep in bed. But aside from the energy issue, outdoor lighting torments and kills unconscionable amounts of insects each night - many of which we consider to be beneficial. (Not to mention, all those dead insects make a big mess.) If you use outdoor lighting, please try to use yellow bug lights. They light up your world, but don't attract insects.
Sticky Fly, Bug, and Mouse Traps
Hey folks, if I had my druthers, these sticky wildlife traps would be illegal. First off I think they are one of the most inhumane devices out there. Secondly, like most traps, they are non-discretionary - anything that comes in contact with them falls victim. My neighbors had sticky fly traps hung from their deck (to catch flies) but unfortunately caught bats. I've also heard of hummingbirds and other bird species becoming stuck to them and ultimately perishing.
Poisons are no answer either. Scientists are finding increased numbers of poisons in sick and dead wildlife such as raptors, coyotes, fox, and domestic dogs and cats.
When a mouse eats mouse poison, it can move quite a distance before finally dying. At that point it is a meal for another animal and the next animal consumes the poison - and on it goes through the food chain.
In addition to the services offered to the left, I offer more conventional handyman skills such as (but not limited to)