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How to Stop Birds From Destroying Window Screens

    A few of the best ways to stop birds from destroying window screens include hanging bird-repellent reflective tape around windows, applying methyl anthranilate to window screens, switching to metal window screens, and setting up a predator statue near the windows.

    On the many homeowners and help forums found across the internet, it is not uncommon to see the question posed: “Why do birds keep destroying my window screens? How can I stop them from doing so?”

    The problem of birds destroying window screens is not an infrequent one. Presumably, your own experience with that problem is what led you to this article in the hopes of obtaining advice for protecting your window screens from birds.

    Luckily, there are five great options.

    Option 1: Bird-Repellent Reflective Tape

    One option for protecting your window screens is to hang reflective tape on or around your windows. Bird-repellent reflective tapes, which can be found on the internet or perhaps at your local hardware store, are produced and sold for the specific purpose of deterring birds.

    How Bird-Repellent Reflective Tapes Work

    Bird-repellent reflective tapes scare birds away in two ways:

    1) The light that reflects off the tape’s holographic-like, shiny surface is disorienting to a bird’s eyesight and causes them to avoid the area.

    2) The snapping noise that these tapes make when they flutter in the wind leads birds to believe there is a fire nearby, so they will flee the area.

    Bird-repellent reflective tapes are a great option for protecting your window screens from birds. These tapes are cheap, readily available, and easy to use. As effective as they are in keeping birds away, they do not cause the birds any harm.

    Option 2: Methyl Anthranilate

    A second option for protecting your window screens is to purchase a liquid compound called methyl anthranilate.

    Methyl anthranilate is a well-known and highly effective bird repellent. Methyl anthranilate is easy to find on the internet. It can likely also be purchased at your local hardware store.

    How Methyl Anthranilate Works

    Methyl anthranilate is bottled similar to cleaning sprays. It can be applied directly to window screens or to the surrounding area with the effect of deterring birds.

    Many industries that need to repel birds, most notably the aviation industry, rely in part on methyl anthranilate to keep birds away.

    The smell of the compound is enough to send birds scattering in the opposite direction. However, it is not ultimately harmful to birds’ health. Nor is methyl anthranilate harmful to humans. It is used as a flavoring agent in multiple commercial beverages.

    Methyl anthranilate is a particularly reliable option because birds do not habituate to it over time.

    Option 3: Switch to Metal Screens

    A third option for protecting your window screens (this is a long-term alternative and an investment) is to install metal screens.

    Metal window screens are slightly more expensive when compared to their fiberglass or plastic counterparts. Still, the cost may be well worth the benefit, especially if you are single-minded on protecting your window screens from covetous birds.

    Why Birds Will Not Destroy Metal Screens

    You can be confident that birds will not mess with metal screens. Not only are metal screens far more difficult for a bird to successfully gnaw at, but birds destroy screens in the first place because they are attempting to tear out the fibers of the screens to use them as nest material.

    Birds do not want to build their nest with metal, so you can be sure that they will steer clear of metal screens. Installing metal screens is an end-game solution and one that can cure the problem for good.

    Option 4: Set Up A Predator Statue

    A fourth option for protecting window screens is to put up a statue of an owl or a falcon near the windows that receives the most unwanted attention from birds. The idea is that the birds will mistake this statue for a real predator and avoid the area.


    This is not a strong option. Though some might swear by it. This idea amounts to little more than an old wives’ tale. Although birds may initially be deterred by the sight of the counterfeit predator, it will probably not take them long before they find out these statues are inanimate and pose them no harm.

    Option 5: Alternative Nest-Building Materials

    A fifth option for protecting window screens takes a more sympathetic approach to the problem.

    As noted previously, the most common reason birds destroy window screens is that they are foraging for materials for nest-building.

    With that in mind, it may be possible to divert birds from window screens by laying out, in a conspicuous area that the birds are sure to notice, piles of nest-building materials that the birds may find and reckon to be better materials than window screens, anyway.

    What Materials To Use

    Materials that may prove attractive to birds seeking nest materials include twigs and sticks, grass clippings, yarn and thread, pine needles, bark strips, and dead leaves.

    On the other hand, you should not include cellophane, aluminum foil, tinsel, or plastic. This option is not a sure fix to the problem, but it’s worth trying. In any event, it is certainly the cheapest option.


    The five options detailed here are not exhaustive, but hopefully they have pushed you in the right direction towards protecting your window screens from birds.

    Listed again, your options are:

    1. Use bird-repellent reflective tape
    2. Use methyl anthranilate
    3. Install metal screens
    4. Set up a statue of an animal that birds will recognize as a predator; people usually use owls or falcons
    5. Lay out alternative nest-building materials so that birds will be diverted from your window screens

    Laying out alternative nest-building materials is most likely the cheapest option, while using methyl anthranilate is probably your best bet for a quick and dependable fix.

    There is much to be said for installing metal screens. Doing so would be a long-term and reliable fix. It would also save you the hassle of re-applying methyl anthranilate throughout the year.

    Whatever options you choose to pursue, may you have success and may your window screens be spared!

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