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Birds feed on insects, so they can be good to have around your yard. On the other hand, when they finish eating – well, you know what comes next. Some people love to have birds around, while others can’t stand them. We certainly don’t condone harming them, but there are some ways to keep them, at least, out of your way.

Since they need to eat and drink, you can keep standing water and food scraps under control. This is a good plan for reducing any kind of pests, critters or insects, from your property.

Scaring them away with fake birds of prey or reptiles can work, at least for a little while. Check farm stores or online sources for fake owls, hawks and snakes that can be placed near areas where birds like to hang out. Move them periodically to make them more lifelike.

Things that are shiny and move can be scary to birds, too. Hang decorative items that swirl and spin in the wind. Even old CDs hanging from a tree will do the job. Other things that can be hung around the yard include aluminum pie pans, scraps of foil or old Christmas ornaments.

A simple whirl-a-gig can be made from an empty plastic soda bottle. Just use a sharp utility knife to cut “fins” into the side of the bottle, pull them out to catch the wind and hang it from a hook or a tree. It will spin in the wind and scare birds and maybe even a squirrel or two away.

Several years ago, in Florida, we saw rubber bands run across the area over a tool deck to keep the birds at bay. The wind makes the band move and, since we never saw birds there, think it might work. You can make one from an old inner tube, cut into a long, thin piece and stretched from tree to tree or from the eaves of your house.

For gardens, you can buy special bird netting that can be stretched over the area or placed over fruit-bearing trees.

If you have more ideas, visit our website, www.thesuperhandyman.com, and share them with others!

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Q: I am getting ready to paint my bathroom again. I have scraped and sanded off the loose and peeling paint, which was supposed to be peel-proof, by the way. I plan to use a primer and another peel-proof, moisture-resistant paint. Is there anything else I can do to prevent the peeling problems I seem be having in this room? – R.H.

A: Even the best paint is going to have problems in a humid area like a bathroom. If at all possible, add ventilation to the room. If you already have it, make sure to use it for at least 15 minutes after every shower or bath. Make sure you thoroughly clean the surface before priming and painting.

Shoptalk

The EcoForest Firestarter is an all-in-one match and firestarter that would be perfect for camping trips, backyard firepits and fireplaces. These small, fire-starting pieces of material strike like a match and will stay lit for 6 minutes, which should give most fires a good start. Each carton contains 20 pieces. Check these out at www.essay-group.com. They have other great products, too.

Got a question or a handy tip? Send it to The Super Handyman at www.thesuperhandyman.com. Those of general interest will be used in future columns.