by Alex A. Kecskes
You’ve decided to get your boat ready for all the spring and summer outings and parties. Problem is, after spending the day removing all the covers and cleaning inside and out, the next morning, you realize you’ve got unexpected visitors—pest birds.
Seagulls, cormorants, and even pigeons are perched on your mast, spreader and canvas sail covers. You know from past experience that you can shoo them away with air horns or water hoses, but they’ll be back as soon as you leave. And what a mess they make.
The powerful uric acid in sea birds can discolor paint, stain canvas and eventually erode steel. There’s also the health risk of bacteria and parasites that live and grow in bird droppings. These can carry and transmit any of 60 known diseases. Not good for the all eating you plan to do on your boat.
Fortunately, there are a number of pest bird deterrents that have proven effective in keeping birds off your boat.
Create an Optical Distraction Zone Visual Bird Deterrents
Known as Visual Bird Deterrents, these include Iridescent Reflective Foil or Flash Tape that you affix to masts and radar units and other elevated areas of your boat. Inflatable Balloons and Scare Eye Diverters also fall into this category. These have large intimidating predator eyes to keep birds away. You can easily attach these to masts and radar antennas.
Create a No-Landing Zone with Bird Spiders & Solar Bird Repellers
If birds are using your canvas covers to eat, roost, and poop on your boat, you might try placing a few of these in areas where birds tend to gather. Solar Bird Repellers keep birds from landing via rotating, motor-driven “arms.” The best bird repellers come with adjustable arms that extend to cover a 5-foot diameter. You can also get Bird Spiders, which feature flailing arms that bounce in the breeze to disscourage pest birds from perching and nesting. Bird spiders come in 2-, 4-, 6- and 8-foot diameter arm lengths to protect increasingly wider areas of your boat. The best bird spiders have a U.V.-protected polycarbonate base for lasting, maintenance free performance. Better spiders will also have railing mounts for easy attachment to boat rails. There’s even a sand bag base for easy positioning on canvas and Biminis.
Create a “Bird Danger” Zone with Sonic Bird Deterrents
Easy to set up and use, these weatherproof devices emit bird distress and predator calls that resemble normal bird sounds to humans. They make birds feel very uneasy and eager to leave. One popular sound bird deterrent emits distress and predator calls for 22 different species of birds. Its built-in speaker covers up to one acre. The unit can be programmed to turn on or off at night, and you can even adjust the volume. Incidentally, ultrasonic bird devices are largely ineffective, for most birds simply can’t hear them.