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Bird Striping

November 30, 2010
For our original experiment to prevent bird strikes on our windows, we applied ordinary Scotch tape to the windows in a diamond pattern. It did a good job of keeping birds from hitting the windows and lasted longer than we expected it to, but it was looking pretty ragged after 2 years of exposure to sun and rain:

We never intended to leave it that long but other projects took priority, and it took a while to think of a better alternative. We've finally come up with a more permanent solution that looks better and should last much longer: automotive pinstripe tape. It's available in various widths, reasonably priced, and designed to withstand years of outdoor exposure. Here's how the windows looked with the original Scotch tape 2 years ago:

And here's how they look now after we replaced the old tape with 1/8" white pinstriping:

From the outside it looks even more visible than the old tape, yet it's far less obtrusive from the inside because it's only 1/8" wide compared to the 1/2" wide Scotch tape. The first photo below shows a view from the inside, with the old tape on the left window and the new pinstriping on the right window where it's nearly invisible. The second photo shows a close-up, with some Eastern Bluebirds eating mealworms right outside our window. Our cats don't get to go outside but they enjoy watching (and occasionally harassing) the birds from indoors.

Below are a couple of views from the outside, showing how the tape breaks up the reflections of trees and sky. This is why it's necessary to put the tape on the outside of the windows, because it would not break up the reflections if placed inside. The diamonds measure approximately 6 inches (150 mm) wide by 11 inches (280 mm) high and we believe it would be less effective if the tape were more widely spaced.

Here's how the front of the house looks now:

We haven't noticed any serious bird strikes since we put up the new tape, although sometimes birds hit the windows after getting startled off the feeders when a hawk comes by. But that only seems to happen with the feeders that are very close to the windows, where the birds don't build up much speed and it doesn't seem to harm them. We don't know how long this tape will last but from what we've read this kind of pinstriping typically lasts 5 to 10 years when used on automobiles so we shouldn't need to replace it very often.