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Old 01-10-2006, 16:24   #1
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Bird Poo

After 21 years my boat became the resting and pooping place for some... birds.. ICK.. I have seen this problem in some harbors in Long Island Sound, but not were my mooring is in Deering Harbor. About 56 weeks ago a boat near ours got a major attack... nothing nappend to us.

This Saturday I came out and the navy blue dodger was white.. the windows completely obscurred and the deck covered. It was major big time poo. Cleaning it took 4 hrs and some of that stuff was so tough I tried and used every solvent and soap I had... The canvas and the plastic windows were the easiest to clean.. but the nonskid and fiberglass on the deck was murder.

So my questions are 2:

What is the best way to keep these birds from using your spreaders as a poop stand?

And what are the best ways to remove the stuff?


sv Shiva
Contest 36s

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Old 01-10-2006, 16:43   #2
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Comet is the only thing I have found that works at all, and even that won't work when they have been eating berries. As for keping them off the boat, good luck. No idea why they choose one boat over another. Our cat was a good deterent, but if you do not want a cat on board, not sure of anything else that will work. One boat out here had a plastic owl. The owl is covered in seagull crap, so I do not recomend that. I have seen people put up plastic netting on the spreaders, but their boats are also covered with droppings. I have noticed that clean boats tend to stay that way, so my guess is if you do not let it accumulate, the birds will not figure it for a good place to crap.

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Old 01-10-2006, 17:28   #3
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Bird Poo

I cannot tell you why birds choose one boat over another, nor can I give you a guartanteed preventative solution. I can add to the discussion my experience and some advice given to me by a Marina Manager.

My first boat was a Southerly 23 that had been neglected for some time and had attracted the attention of many birds while on its mooring. When I bought her, I tidied her up, progressively scrubbing from top to bottom. At the same time I moved to a different mooring. One morning while tied up a the marina the manager came by and we started chatting, and the subject of the bird poo still on my boat came up. His expereince and advice was that birds will return to the same place to poo, and if I were to clean it up and keep it clean, there was less chance of continual fouling.

I took his advice and priority No 1 was to scrub all the poo from the deck, cockpit, sail cover etc before returning to the mooring later that day.

To my surprise, it actually worked; I suffered very little poo after that, and the benefit being when there is very little, much less effort is required to keep clean.

Fair winds

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Old 02-10-2006, 02:32   #4
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Hi I have found that the installation of what we call in OZ "bird wires" seem to be the answer to this annoying problem A wire strung from the mast out to the shrouds approximatly 20 cm above the spreaders will prevent the birds from perching on the spreaders as they cant seem to be able to land and 'poo" on your boat It is a very effective preventive measure I hope it works for you
Regards Tim
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Old 02-10-2006, 05:16   #5
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I have seen inflatable snakes, fake owls, CD's hung on fishing line, and others, but my approch has been to fly a burgee or flag all the time. The flags seem to keep them off the spreaders but not the masthead. I clean up early while the dew is still on the boat so your not dealing with dried "poo". Comet or other scouring cleaners need to be avoided as once you start using them they end up being all that works because they dry out the gellcoat and anything that gets back on the boat stains and you start the cycle again.
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Old 02-10-2006, 09:05   #6
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If at all possible choose a marina with a habitat that does not support a large bird population. One of the marina's in San Diego had row of of unpruned palm tree running the length of it. These trees had a large Starling population which made a real mess of all the boats on the first arm. After the palm trees where cleaned up the mess on the boats decreased dramatically.

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Old 02-10-2006, 11:00   #7
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String monofilament fishing line - say 20lb test - above anything you don't want the birds to land on. Works great on spreaders - also use it above the mainsail / along the boom. Forget the fake animals... they never work except to line the pockets of those pool equipment salesmen...
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:23   #8

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Jef, I'd also say the only thing that really works is stringing mono line above the perch areas, or using similar netting/mesh above large flats. If you can tangle their feet they won't try to land again--although they will poop when they hit the lines and get their feet tangles the first time.

The only fake animal that seems to work for any length of time is a hawk kite, or similar kite made up to look like a bird of prey. If you attach it to the backstay so the wind runs it up and about during the long as it is in the air and "swooping" they will stay clear. Problem is, eventually the wind dies and the kite goes in the water, or it tangles in something. But I've seen them clipped to guy wires on building roofs, and they work very well.

Last guys who used our cockpit must have really enjoyed the accomodations and they were good tippers, they left a whole herring in the corner for us. (UGH.)
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Old 02-10-2006, 11:26   #9
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Birds go where they will and they often prefer a location not for any reason other than it's a lat / long they prefer. As long as it's not on your boat it's best to live and let live.

1. Plastic creatures be they owls or anything else only fool people. Birds know the real thing. The can poop on them as well as anything else.

2. Fishing line flat out works 100% but you need it strung such that they can't easily fly in the area for risk of hitting it. The will avoid it. Strung overhead along a pier they just stay away and you won't get it around your neck.

3. On a mooring you are probably screwed. Attaching it to the boat may or may not be practical. There may be a reason that nouring became available. You should follow that lead and move. Moving may be the only for sure way to rid yourself of them. If they like one spot be some place not close but near by.

I almost bought a house with a 300 ft long dock. The neighbors for a quite a long way in each direction all had similar long docks to access deeper water. Only one dock had one of the worst seagull problems I've ever seen in my life. Very disgusting and a seroius footing problem as you walked along it. It was this house. In any other respcet all the homes and docks were very similar. It appeared the owner had tried many things to no avail. I think the fishing line was hung too low along the tops of the pylons. It needs to be 8 ft or more up and some times 3 or more rows of line work where one single line does not.
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37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 02-10-2006, 16:09   #10
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I keep my boat in Raritan Bay (New Jersey/New York area) and this time of the year the birds are a big problem. I am on a mooring and have found my boat decorated by the birds quite a few times. A couple of times I had to completely wash the boat before I went out sailing, quite disgusting. The only spot on the boat that was not spoiled was the boom I think the lazy jacks kept them from landing on the sail cover. So to keep them off the rest of the boat I found a string of colored flags at a party store. So I decorated my boat and it has been clean for the past two weeks. Unfortunately it looks like a used car lot but it worked great well worth the $15 it cost me. It seems to me that the movement of the flags in combination with less landing space on the deck seems to do the trick.
It's all good!
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Old 02-10-2006, 17:50   #11
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Try "Tuf-Enuf"'s sold at West Marine.

It melts bird & spider poop with ease.

There is nothing else made that works as well as this does.
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Old 02-10-2006, 18:01   #12
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I'm on Long Island as well and have dealt with this nuisance. Other than seagulls, I find the cormorants to be truly the worst. I am on a mooring in a harbor that prides itself on being a bird refuge and a great feeding ground for them.... :-(
A friend gave me these lengths of aluminum that are pre stamped with forks that you bend up. (I think they are used in cities to keep pigeons off rooftops and gutters.) After bending them up, you plastic tie them to your spreaders. This worked wonders...for about 2 months. After going aloft, I discovered that the buggers actually bent some of the forks down! I bent them back up, then ran 20lb test fishing line from the end of the spreader to a point about 1 foot above the spreader brackets on the mast. I added another line that ran about halfway out on the spreader also from the 1 foot point on the mast. This did the trick.
For the masthead...... I attached a red flag (white works too) a piece of fishing pole (the end half of a cheap 2 piece pole). I hoist this up with the spinnaker halyard so the flag stands upright when at the masthead. The point is to keep the flag in front of the masthead so that it waves above the perching area of the mast. Later, I added pieces of recording tape so they would drift in the light wind. Also the flag, if stiff enough, will provide enough of a deterant for the birds to want to land.
It is a tremendous pain in the !@#$%^ to have to spend an hour scrubbing before a sail. My wife nearly swore off sailing unless something was done!
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:51   #13
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Birds! #^%@#$%^^# dirty animals! And they love my triatic (standing rigging between main and mizzen heads). The next time I climb my mast, I will (hopefully) remember to take a roll of monofiliment line with me and attach it just above the triatic - then climb the mizzen and attach it there. This will be out of the way and not interfer with sailing, and should keep 95% of those little S**t birds off my boat.
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Old 08-10-2006, 10:56   #14
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The above is for the starlings. For larger birds - they either want the spreaders, or the end of the booms. Since I keep the halyards pulled off the masts, they fill the gap between mast and shrouds. For the end of the boom: main, I secure my sheet off the topping lift so it hangs in the area they like, for the mizzen, I take the tail end of the outhaul and half hitch it on the mast and run it aft to the topping lift and secure it about a foot above the boom. THIS WORKS.
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Old 08-10-2006, 11:29   #15

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I have seen every single approach taken above. Unfortunatley, I haven't seen any of them work (except I've never seen the aligator one!)

The birds will just land and crap wherever they want. There is no solution, other than to move the boat. I saw this up close and personal in Northport, NY these past few months. We were anchored out and had to go past a billion boats to get to the town dock. On the way in, we would see boats with those used car flags, fishing line, owls, etc... and none of those things made a difference. The birds just zoomed in under the line, sat on the bimini and relaxed. I even saw some in the cockpits hanging out lounging.

I think the only solution is to move to another marina or just hose the boat down every time.

And... by no explaination at all... not a single bird ever landed on our boat, save a falcon or two on the masthead.

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