Stencils

You are welcome to use this material on your site or in any other way with or without attribution. To read the fine print you will have to download the document below.

The design to the left can be used by anyone with access to a machine Like Cricut to cut stencils. The blue dots are placed 2″ apart. (Cricut will cut these out and you will fill them with white paint on the window) It can be downloaded and can be imported into your Cricut Design Space.

The material below explains why stencils are not a good choice to prevent window collisions. However, it does include a list of stencils that will make the window safe for birds if you choose to use them. The links will work if you download the document.

The Downside of Stencils

Some Stencils Protect Birds – But  They are Expensive.  Many Are A Waste of Your Time and Money.

Stencils can be used to prevent deadly bird window collisions.  However, I do not recommend them for three reasons. 

First, most people put a high value on a clear view out their window. Stencils must fill the whole window with only small empty spaces.  Click for explanation.

Second, since they substantially interfere with your vision out the window you are unlikely to place them on most of your windows.  To protect birds you need to install collision prevention on most of your windows.  You cannot guess which windows birds will hit.  I tried and two birds died hitting windows in my home – the side of a sunroom and the front glass storm door.

Third, they are far more expensive than other options.  The stencils are small, so that the square foot cost is $7.20 sq foot.  Other very easy-to-install options, even if purchased commercially and installed by a handyman, are less than half the cost. See https://birdfriendlyyards.net/sdm_downloads/consumerguide/ Click on # 8 in the table of contents to compare costs. Since they are usually 7” by 10” inches the temptation will be to put only one on a window pane – leaving large spaces around it where birds will strike  and die.  I have not found any free stencils online that will protect birds – i.e. spaced correctly.

There are options that are less expensive, easier to install, and have little impact on vision.  To examine these options go to https://birdfriendlyyards.net/sdm_downloads/consumerguide/ Go to page 4 and click on systemswithlessimpact If you do value attractive designs, you may want to use stencils.  If you just want the answer to which decals you should buy click here:

Why Some Stencil Protect Birds and Some Do Not. Birds flying through the woods do not hit anything because they avoid spaces between branches that are too small for them to fly through.  A stencil makes shapes and lines on the window which appear like branches to a bird. Decades of tests have shown that if the branches (or in the case of the stencil, the shapes) are spaced no more than two inches apart, birds will not try to fly through the space.  They will avoid the window.  That is our goal.

Conversely, if the stencil leaves spaces which are larger than 2” by 2,” a bird will try to fly through those “spaces” in the design and hit the window. This we must prevent.   

Remember, birds do not recognize a window in the side of building as glass.

That is why a big fancy shape on the window will not protect birds if it leaves any spaces bigger than 2”.

If you take a 2 inch square to the art store, you can see if the spaces between the lines and shapes on the stencil are too large.  To make it easier for you I have gone through the Hobby Lobby stencil offerings and identified 17 that have the right spacing. (I did this in a drawing program. I superimposed 2” squares on the designs after adjusting for the size of the stencil.)

Installation Caution.  Most stencils are much smaller than a window. Be sure that when you place two stencils side-by-side you are not creating a gap or space larger than 2”sq.

Below is a list of bird safe stencils sold by Hobby Lobby. So you do not have to go to the site and look at them one by one, they are shown in together at https://birdfriendlyyards.net/stencils/

You can order them by going to https://www.hobbylobby.com/Crafts-Hobbies/Stencils-Craft-Paints/c/9-186 and enter the name of the stencil in the search box.

Or you can quick order with the SKU#.  Enter SKU herehttps://www.hobbylobby.com/customer-service/quick-order  Here is with the list with SKU number. SKU numbers can change.  Here is the list.

Leafy Flourish 1432897, Mandala 1432871, Let’s Be Mermaids 1926468, Vine Stencil, Sports Stencil 676668, Chevron Stencil 890608, Flowers 835900, Leafy Flourish 1432897, Buffalo Check 1814094, Floral batik 2102069,  Moroccan Tile 890202,Mermaid Scales 1926450, Birds and Butterfly 836536, Swirl Bonanza 1094366, Fairy 835538, Botanical Assortment 2098853,  Celtic 1199199

DIY Stencils  The stencils listed above are commercial stencils. If you are talented you can create stencils yourself, but it is not simple.  The elements of the stencil must be connected in some way so that the page can be handled as a whole.  A disconnected series of geometric shapes (which are free on the web) will not make a stencil.  If you use a paper cutting device, such as a Cricut, you can plan and cut out your own stencil.  You can also download a stencil file and use your Cricut or other paper cutting  device to cut a 2” by 2” stencil to cut it out.  See https://birdfriendlyyards.net/stencils/

If you subscribe to Cricut there are many stencils available.  Make sure that the spaces between its parts are not separated by more than 2”. Create a 2” square block on the Cricut workspace and place it over the stencil to see if it meets the safety standard.

You are welcome to download this material  and use it with or without attribution. https://birdfriendlyyards.net/stencils/