Bird Friendly Facility Project
A paper published in Science by Rosenberg et al in 2019 brought to attention an alarming decline in North American bird number, estimating that nearly 3 billion adult breeding birds have been lost since 1970. These findings were a call to action for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Region 3 Migratory Bird Program proposed a challenge for FWS facilities to come up with a plan to make their facilities more bird friendly.
Visitor Services intern Jessica Duez took this project on in 2021! She was involved with researching potential actions, proposing the plans for the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge facilities, determining the budget for the project and bringing the plans to life. She is proud to have been part of this project to save birds.
The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Bird Friendly Facility Project was sponsored in part by the Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. It involved installing one-way film on windows, constructing and hanging zen curtains on other buildings including the Wildlife Window and the Refuge Ranger Station.
To make your home more bird friendly, consider installing film or zen curtains.
What Are Zen Curtains?
Zen curtains are exterior window treatments that break up the reflections of windows and create a visual barrier for birds to see. They are generally made of vinyl j-channel and paracord, and secured to the outsides of windows. Zen curtains can dangle freely, or be tied down to a second piece of vinyl j-channel at the bottom so they are taut. These window treatments are an easy and inexpensive way to make windows bird safe.
Make Your Own Zen Curtains!
How To Assemble And Hang
STEP 1: Add holes to vinyl j-channel to attach paracord strands by measuring every 2 inches along the bottom of the j-channel, and marking with a pencil. Drill a hole in the center of the bottom of the j-channel on each mark. Use a drill bit that will create large enough holes for the paracord to fit through.
STEP 2: Measure each strand of paracord with a ruler to the length of the window frame plus an extra inch for the knot. Cut the paracord with scissors, but don't let go of each end. Carefully use a lighter to melt the ends of the paracord to keep them from fraying. Make enough strands of paracord to fill each hole drilled in the j-channel.
STEP 3: String a strand of paracord through the first hole in the j-channel. Tie a knot in the paracord above the j-channel so it won't fall back out. Repeat until all strands of paracord are strung on j-channel.
STEP 4: Using screws and a drill, secure the zen curtain to the top of the window frame on the outside of the window. You may need a ladder for this step. In some cases, you may be able to avoid using screws by sliding the j-channel into space in your vinyl siding.