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August in the Nature Reserve

13-Aug-2020 09:07

Saving birds with nail varnish...
Sunday morning, enjoying a nice cuppa before starting the day when crash! One of the baby shrikes went smashing into the front face windows. We leapt out of bed and ran to the window - are you ok little one?

baby shrike.jpg

They've been coming to the windows a lot recently, we think they're picking insects off the glass. But this one was trying to fly through it! It turns out though, they don't even see it, and the reflection of the garden and sky is simply more garden and sky, not a reflection to them. The feathers and corks hung along the front face are just trees to fly through.

Something more was obviously required.

After reading this pdf from City of Toronto City Planning department we set to making our DIY version of it.

Enter the nail varnish. Ok, I must be honest, I didn't use nail varnish in the end as I found a stray tin of enamel paint, years old and needing to be used up. But opaque white nail varnish would've done the job just as well (with an inbuilt brush to boot!).

IMG 2004.jpg

First, I created a template on an A4 sheet of paper then stamped holes in it with our irrigation pipe tool. With some tape to stick it to the window and a small paint brush, out I went to make our DIY bird friendly glass windows.

5 top tips for bird friendly glass:

Ensure the pattern density is 10cm by 10cm or less
Visual markers must be at least 5mm in diameter
Apply to low refletance glass
They should be high contrast (for us white was best)
The exterior is the most effective surface

painting bird friendly glass 1.jpg painting bird friendly glass detail.jpg

It's a very therapeutic job, can't be rushed, but only took a couple of hours to do 1 full size and two half size windows.

You can see from the photo that it does create a wall-like appearance. And from the inside, although visible, they certainly don't spoil the view.

painting bird friendly glass finished2.jpg

As a test, we left three windows without the dots adding extra hangies made from spiral cut plastic water bottles. A warbler did fly up to the glass inbetween two hangies, but didn't hit the glass. Interestingly it had already flown past two windows with the dots on.

Lastly, the good news...

- I know you've been worried about baby shrike, after a little rest, she was fine and flew away to play with her siblings
- since then we've had no birds hurting themselves flying into the windows

Although the extra hangies have helped, we will eventually be adding the dot grid to all the windows.

Have you ever had a bird crash into your windows?
Leave a comment below...

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