Whether you live in a New York City high rise or a Tucson one-story house, birds always seem to find a way to hurl themselves at whatever windows you may have. Not only does the bird strike’s sickening “thump” tend to interrupt whatever you’re doing, but it also startles the dogs and often leaves a dead, injured or completely stunned bird lying on the ground.
And even birds that are merely stunned can quickly end up injured or dead once the dogs head out to investigate what made the sickening thump.
I recently saved a colorful tanager from certain death after he crashed into our Tucson door wall and then sat at the base of it having what looked like panic attack. He was panting like a freight engine. His eyes were the size of saucers. And his beak was frozen open in an ongoing grimace.
He was so out of it he let me pick gently pick him up and place him on the patio table, away from the certain death from dogs zone. There he sat panting for at least an hour, pooping at least once, until he finally gathered his wits back enough to hop onto a nearby oleander branch.
I vowed I would do whatever I could to make sure this would not happen again. So I checked out some options to prevent bird strikes into windows. Here’s what I found:
Remove the Windows
While this could work if you live in a climate that doesn’t rain, snow, dip below 72 degrees, or have insects, removing the windows is not a feasible option in most cases. Besides, you’d still have gaping openings in your walls what would beckon birds to fly on in. If you think a tanager pooping once on a patio table is bad, you should see what the average bird can do to your living room carpet.
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 0
Cover the Windows
Exterior shades could cover the window glass, as could meaty chunks of plywood or flat, black paint. But do you really want to sit around in the dark all day?
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 2 (if you don’t mind the dark)
Try Bird Strike Window Decals
This is the option I initially wanted to try, although it did take some time to find decals that:
Weren’t in the shape of birds, butterflies or some other fru fru design
Weren’t ugly white
Didn’t resemble those things you stick in bathtubs to stop from slipping
Looked attractive from the exterior as well as the interior
I ended up ordering two different decal sets, a cool-looking mandala and a circle-spiral-ey thing.
One issue I was already expecting to encounter was longevity. Other window decals have peeled, faded and otherwise fallen prey to window washing, constant sun and other elements and ailments to which exterior windows are regularly exposed.
The other issue was the wait. The cool spiral-ey set was coming all the way from Germany and would take at least 10 days to arrive. After witnessing the panic of the tanager, I knew I couldn’t wait a single second to put something in place. So I moved on to the next solution.
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 5
Bird Crash Prevention Sign
Since I’m already making loads of weather-resistant, metal yard art, making a bird strike prevention sign came pretty easy. Steps included:
Cutting a bird shape out of metal, filing edges, sanding and drilling top hole
Picking text that would let birds know this sign was for them
Painting one side with metallics to give the bird’s a head’s up not to head here
Painting the other side with an image I felt like looking at all day long in my kitchen
Adding a chain so the sign could hang from the top of the window frame from a clip, nail or whatever else I decided to secure it to
The end result was a bird crash prevention sign that has been a huge hit – not in the literal sense but in the sense of working wonderfully.
Only one bird came close to crashing into the window since I installed the sign about two weeks back. He was heading for the glass at high speed, but then slowed down enough when he saw the sign to change course and only make a “tap” noise instead of a “SPLAT.”
I KNEW birds could read English. Not a bird crash, bird bash or bird strike since!
Thus I’d definitely vote for a unique sign that lasts for years, can be moved to different windows, cities or time zones as needed, and ensures birds get the message that you love them and want to keep them safe.
Feasibility score (1 to 10): 10
Get creative and make your own double-sided bird crash prevention sign – or buy one from ryndustries. Either way, the birds will thank you.
Gillespie was this chunky little ornery dog we met at the dog park. He was a real jerk.
What made him jerky?
He followed us around snarling. Then he tried to get between my own dogs and me, snarling at them if they came near me. Then he incessantly sniffed butts while snarling some more. He finally snarled one too many times in my dog Gigi’s face and Gigi attacked him.
Then what happened?
Then we left.
What were Gillespie’s owners doing during all this?
Just sitting there on a bench. They finally said the dog’s name after the attack. Maybe to prevent another one?
Or maybe they wanted Gillespie to get attacked and killed so they didn’t have to bring him back home.
No, people can’t be that cruel – even with a jerky dog.
So what should people do if they have a jerky dog?
Not bring him out in public.
And warn any visitors to the home that a jerky dog is on the property.
You mean they should buy one of your custom dog signs on Etsy?
Lots of sunshine, lots of ocean and lots of meditative naps. My annual San Diego Dog Beach retreat with the hounds is stocked with the perfect ingredients for one relaxing, revitalizing getaway. Yet each year it consistently came with three ingredients we’d all prefer to live without:
Sand in the bed
Over-baking in the sun
That icky wet dog smell
Year after year I just kind of learned to live with these things, the same way you learn to live with a rock in your shoe if you’re too lazy to stop and remove it. But this year I fought back. I was going to hurl that proverbial rock from my shoe, conquering the bed sand, the sun bake and the wet dog smell.
And I did it with three simple add-ons to my packing list.
Conquers sand in the bed
Not sure if anyone calls them “Dust Busters” anymore, but I am sure that rechargeable, hand-held vacuums suck up sand in bed like nobody’s business.
If you’re heading to Dog Beach, your hotel bed is going to end up sandy and wet. Even if there are two queen-sized beds in the room and you’re only planning to sleep on one of them, dogs have a certain way of choosing your sleeping bed to romp on right after an afternoon at the beach.
One year we tried a throw rug foot mat, which helped a tad for wiping off human feet before hopping into bed. But the dogs never got the hang of using it properly to wipe their paws. It helped a little.
The next year we tried a thick over-sheet that helped keep dog sand from seeping through the porous blanket into the main sheets. It helped a little more.
The third year I got really savvy. I packed the hand-held vacuum. Combined with the foot mat and non-porous top sheet, the vacuum provided the final touch every beach bed needs to prevent you from waking up with grit in your teeth.
Dog Beach Tent
Protects from wind and sun
When you live in the middle of the Arizona desert and drive more than six hours to reach the Pacific Ocean, you’ll be dang well sure you’re spending as much time as humanly possible on the beach before you return to cactus land.
But the amount of time that’s humanly possible in the sun is a bit different than the amount that’s dogly possible. Pooches tend to tucker out much quicker, probably because one dog hour in the sun is equivalent to seven human hours in the sun, no?
A sweet lil beach tent came to the rescue here. Not only did it serve to shield us from the beach wind and sun, but it worked as an ideal hiding place in case we wanted spy on passers-by. No one comes near the tents around Ocean Beach because they’re typically populated with hobo types who ask for money if you come within 25 feet of them.
Annihilates icky wet dog smell
The best add-on by far was a trio of essential oils, a plug-in diffuser and a spray bottle. Fill the diffuser and bottle with water mingled with a few drops of your favorite oils. Plug in the former. Shake up and spray the latter. Repeat as often as needed. You just got wiped out that icky wet dog smell.
Peppermint essential oil is strong without being overpowering. Vanilla adds a warm and cozy touch. Ylang Ylang adds a dollop of energy and has a really cool name.
All our future dog beach retreats will definitely include these magical items – along with the approximately 564 million other things we pack ur annual retreat is awash with comfort, peace and plenty of sand-free serenity.
What must-have items do you always bring along on retreats?