If Bird Brains are so Tiny, Then Why is it that We Humans Have So Much Trouble Outwitting Them? Seaworthy Readers Fight Back!
Hi. I have just read your article from the January 2002 issue of Seaworthy concerning the problem of bird droppings on board. I have had too much experience with this problem. Our mooring in York Harbor, Maine is in an area where there is a large population of Cormorants. Their droppings are somewhat like epoxy and I am convinced that West Epoxy could capitalize on this characteristic. In order to minimize the visits of the offending cormorants I came up with a system to discourage the landings of the cormorants on my mast head and spreaders. I borrowed the technology of the horse farmers and bought an electric fence charger at Agway. It uses a 6v battery and puts out about a 30,000v charge pulse every few seconds. I ran the wires up the inside of the mast and put pairs of wires across the spreaders and at the mast head. I have had the good fortune of being on board when the birds have attempted to land. There is very loud squawking and rapid departure! I have also embellished the mast head with the addition of about 20 18gauge hypodermic needles embedding the base in small blobs of silicone cement. I am happy to report that with the combination of treatments that my decks have remained quite clean now for a few years.
I have a sure fire cure for the birds… the only one's that are not included are crows and Canadian Geese…
Here is a photo of the cure…
Her name is Misty Lou and she is a 14 pound Russian Blue. She takes on pelican's and any other birds that invade our area which includes the docks on both sides of our boat, all of our boat and even the neighbor boat if a bird takes up residence there.
This cat woke us up when a part failed and we had a minor fire… could have been major if she had not taken charge… so much smoke we would have died… she even gets us up if anything is going on outside the boat on the dock… I tell everyone she is a dog… she walks on leash… too.
First off, please help all other publications editorial staffs, they have a long way to go to catch up to Seaworthy! Being in a boatyard owning family and a boater for too long, I have a comment relating to the recent article "Bye Bye Birdie." Seaworthy has just about every possible solution to the omnipresent problem of bird/boat cohabitation and subsequent damage mentioned in this article, except one, which is possibly the best.
I am surprised to see that no one has mentioned that birds prefer to be on top if possible, higher than any one or thing around them. In addition, like all flying objects (read planes, etc.) birds like wide-open spaces for takeoffs and landings. I have hassled with birds about my 34' Gran Sport for years to no avail; I have tried all options listed this month as well!
Recently, I placed an additional dummy 8' VHF antenna adjacent to the existing active antenna, on the opposite side of the cabin of my vessel and tied two small Mylar streamers at the top of each. This additional antenna greatly restricts the glide path of seagulls en route to my burgundy canvas top as well as offers the option of only a lower than the two antennas perch and has completely eliminated the incidence of cohabitation and subsequent unpleasantness!
Added bonuses are that this technique requires zero set up and take down each boating session, is fully visually compliant with all accepted boating protocol, is very rugged and maintenance free, and even affords an additional VHF antenna in an emergency!
This may be too late or too long for your April issue on bird solutions, but nevertheless here it is. I live in a boating community in southwest Florida. Most of us have boats docked or on lifts next to our house. I have a Grady White Sailfish 27'. My neighbor does not have a boat. His hobby is feeding the birds. I'm not talking about a simple bird feeding station. I'm talking about the wholesale feeding of all feathered creatures in the southwest. We have egrets, blue herons, crows, doves, seagulls, an occasional pelican, and more. "Birdbrain" I will call him, feeds them cooked chicken, bacon, loaves of bread and other garbage. Naturally the birds like to pick up their treat, sit on my boat and eat while making their mess. Talking to Birdbrain does no good, as he doesn't see a problem. He throws the food all over his lawn and roof. It has attracted rats (which got into my attic) and raccoons (which had babies on my boat). Getting nowhere with Birdbrain I had to devise my own plan because if you ever had a pair of four-foot herons dump on your boat you know what I am talking about.
Plastic Owl: Tried this but the birds ignored it and it finally blew away.
Air Horn: Used air horn to blast them away. Most drew neighbors to their back patios to see who was coming down the canal. Too noisy for people.,/
Water Cannon: I rigged my garden hose so that I could turn it on at the right time and blast the birds away. It worked in one spot but became a problem when the grass was cut. Also, on a hot day some birds stayed and enjoyed the shower.
Bird Machine: Invested $99 on a machine guaranteed to drive away birds. All it did was drive me and my neighbors crazy listening to a clicking noise all day. Didn't bother the birds.
Fishing Line: After having to clean up after two large herons one day I put fishing line across the vertical poles of my lift to keep them from flying into the aft section, sitting on the sides and doing their thing. This seems to be working. The birds are afraid of getting hung up in the lines and don't come in. This is not new; lots of boat yards and outdoor restaurants do it.
Gull Sweep: This worked best. I put one on the top and one on the bow. I had to rig it up with PVC pipe to make a good placement on the bow. When the wind blows they twirl around and keep a lot of birds from landing. They can be bought at most marine supply stores for about $35.
As long as Birdbrain is feeding birds I will have a problem. Now, could Seaworthy give me some ideas on how to get rid of my pesky neighbor?
In response for your Plea to Clever Readers to suggest innovative ways to keep birds off spreaders, docks, and decks, we offer the following idea (product). We call it a Bird Begone Burgee, a product we created several years ago and never really marketed. However, we have sold over 100 here in the Solomons, Maryland area for sailboat masts. We have found it to be about 90% effective. We are sure they would be just as effective on dock pilings, trawler masts, and even in vineyards. Currently our sales have just been through word of mouth here at the marinas.
The enclosed literature and diagrams will explain our idea. The photograph, taken fall 2001 at Zahniser's Yachting Center when the starlings were arriving shows the burgee at work.
We do not have some copyright protection and consider current pieces to be prototypes and some revisions would need to be made for a production run. Enclosed, please find a sample of each type of burgee.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
In response to your question about protecting your boat from seagulls, my wife and I have found the following to be successful.
We buy a roll of "Deerblock" from Lowes and suspend it over the boat and dinghy. We even put it on top of the pilings next to the boat to reduce "fly-by" bomb runs.
A piece of Deerblock is attached. It is a nylon mesh that is seven feet wide and a hundred feet long. The last time we bought a roll (1998) it was $15.96 at Lowes, and we re-use the same roll each year.
We won the war on seagulls!
I really enjoyed reading this month's Seaworthy Vol. No. 2 … April 2002 issue.
I am very sorry that I missed reading last month's article on clever techniques for keeping birds off boats. I also had a problem with messy ducks on the swim platform. Out of necessity, I designed a prototype little black box that will completely keep ducks away without harm to the environment. This is a simple, small unit that detects ducks in range of the swim platform and sprays them with water. It irritates the ducks without causing them harm.
The prototype has been in service for three seasons with complete success so I have applied for a patent. If anyone is interested, I will make more units. I can be reached at (Akita274@cs.com).
I use old cassette tapes strung all over my fig trees. The tape keeps them from eating my figs and I don't see why it wouldn't work on boats. Another useful tactic is to string aluminum pie pans together like wind chimes with fishing twine.
My husband is building a boat and reads Seaworthy every month. He told me to write to you with my ideas. I hope they help.
My son Gary Bell, and I, sailed for twenty years in Florida and Bahamian waters, and never had bird doo problems, even with the great herds of birds we have down here. The secret? our trusty Owl replica which was always run up to the spreaders. It turns out the Owl is the most feared of all the Raptor family of birds and not one specie will contest their territories. I have also seen Osprey replicas, which work well, probably because of their similar Raptor heritage. If I'm not mistaken, Boat US may still carry these owl replicas.
Hi all, here at Biloxi Yacht Club we use monofiliment fishing line strung along the pilings to keep seagulls and other flying critters away from the areas we want to keep clean.
No sure why it works, it just seems to do the job. Try tying some between the mast and head and backstay. Let me know how it did.
Tie monofilament fishing line four to six inches above your boat rail (all around the boat rails).
Tie mono four to six inches above your sail cover.
Buy some plastic or rubber blow-up snakes and place one on your bow and one around the boom
Install 1" PVC pipes, 24" high, bout every 10 feet on the face of the dock. Sting mono line from one pipe to another.
The "Winged critters" make one crash landing (they can't see when the come in for a landing) and they usually find another vessel to decorate.
This tactic works for us in Jensen Beach, Florida. Seagull migration takes place from January to April.
I hope this helps some of our BoatU.S. buddies.
Your “Bye-Bye Birdie” in the recent Seaworthy reminded me of a solution to untidy aft swim decks. My beautiful mahogany slotted swim deck was never messy because Admiral Mark Van Dussen of Sarasota, Florida, the prior owner of my Chris Craft beauty, had installed a row of copper wires connected to a farm fence charger. When a fat duck once landed his wet bottom on these warm wires, he left as fast as a rocket from Cape Canavaral and never returned. She must have told all her relatives too, for my deck was always clean.
I was recently alerted to the section on your web site that discusses ways to keep birds off of boats. I would like to provide you with some information regarding a product that we manufacture that is designed for boats and other open areas. This product is called Daddi Long Leg. Its unique design deters gulls, pigeons and other large birds from landing in open spaces such as flat roofs, air conditioning units, boats, street lights and other hard-to-protect areas.
How It Works: Thin, stainless steel rods rotate in the breeze and wave menacingly, interfering with birds as they attempt to land. The Delrin plastic base can be screwed into most surfaces and comes with a i-inch adhesive neoprene gasket. A PVC base adapter is available for glue-on applications. Removable: The center spindle can be easily separated from the base to gain access to an otherwise protected area. Hard to See: The Daddi Long Legs in inconspicuous form short distances and practically invisible from 50 feet or more. Its unobtrusive design allows for use in even high visibility areas. Humane: The waving rods have plastic tips to prevent injury to birds or humans.
For more information on Daddi Long Legs, please visit our site at www.birdbarrier.com. I have attached an image of Daddi Long Legs installed on a boat for your convenience.