Title:
Bird deterrent device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A device for deterring birds from alighting onto an object, the device having a mounting adapted to be fixed to an object upon which birds may alight, a hub rotatably associated with the mounting, and at least one arm adapted to extend radially from said hub. The at least one arms each include an associated vane moveable between a storage position parallel to the associated arm and a working position moveable between angles generally perpendicular to the associated arm, certain of the vanes being wind driven in the working position to rotate the arms about the mount to deter birds from alighting upon an object. The device may also be folded such that the at least one arms are brought into a position adjacent to each other, the vanes thereof being moveable to the storage position when the device is folded to avoid damage thereto.



Inventors:
Zecher, Peter H. (Hohokus, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/205574
Publication Date:
04/05/2007
Filing Date:
08/17/2005
Assignee:
Gullsweep L.L.C. (Midland Park, NJ, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/72
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
KENNY, DANIEL J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LERNER, DAVID, LITTENBERG, (KRUMHOLZ & MENTLIK 600 SOUTH AVENUE WEST, WESTFIELD, NJ, 07090, US)
Claims:
1. A device for deterring birds from alighting onto an object, said device comprising: a mounting device adapted to be fixed to an object on which birds may alight; a hub rotatably associated with said mounting device; a first arm adapted to extend radially from said hub to a first arm distal end; a first arm vane assembly associated with said first arm distal end, said first arm vane assembly having a first arm vane adapted to move between a storage position substantially parallel to said first arm and a working position generally perpendicular to said first arm; wherein said first arm and said hub may rotate about said mounting device.

2. The device of claim 1, wherein said first arm vane assembly further comprises a first spring associated with said first arm vane.

3. The device of claim 2, wherein said first spring may be compressed to permit said first arm vane to move from said working position to said storage position.

4. The device of claim 2, wherein said first arm vane further comprises a first post extending from said first arm, said first vane rotatably engaged with said first post.

5. The device of claim 4, wherein said first spring is mounted upon said first post.

6. The device of claim 2, wherein said first vane further comprises a first vane first locking tab adapted to prevent said first vane from rotating from said working position to a position beyond said storage position.

7. The device of claim 6, wherein said first vane further comprises a first vane second locking tab, said first vane second locking tab and said first vane first locking tab adapted to secure said first vane in said storage position by partially surrounding said first arm when said vane is in said storage position.

8. The device of claim 7, wherein said first spring may be compressed to move said vane from said working position to said storage position by passing said first vane second locking tab over said first arm.

9. The device of claim 1, wherein said first arm vane is substantially above said first arm when said first arm vane is in said storage position.

10. The device of claim 1, wherein said first arm vane further comprises a bottom surface, said bottom surface adapted to rest on said first arm when said first arm vane is in said storage position.

11. The device of claim 10, wherein said first arm vane bottom surface is substantially adjacent to said first arm when said first arm vane is in said working position.

12. The device of claim 1, wherein said first arm vane may rotate relative to said first arm when in said working position.

13. The device of claim 12, wherein said first arm vane further comprises a first arm vane first blocking member associated with a first side of said first arm vane, said first arm vane first blocking member adapted to limit rotation of said first arm vane when in said working position.

14. The device of claim 13, wherein said first arm vane further comprises a first arm vane second blocking member associated with a second side of said first arm vane, said first arm vane first blocking member and said first arm vane second blocking member limiting the rotation of said first arm vane between the angles of approximately 45 degrees and 135 degrees relative to said first arm.

15. The device of claim 13, wherein said first arm vane further comprises a first arm vane second blocking member associated with a second side of said first arm vane.

16. The device of claim 1, further comprising: a second arm, said second arm adapted to extend radially from said hub to a second arm distal end; and, a second arm vane assembly associated with said second arm distal end, said second arm vane assembly having a second arm vane adapted to move between a second arm vane storage position substantially parallel to said second arm and a second arm vane working position generally perpendicular to said second arm; wherein said first arm, said second arm, and said hub may rotate about said mounting device.

17. The device of claim 16, wherein said first arm and said second arm are adapted to have a first arm position wherein said first arm and said second arm are displaced from each other by approximately 180 degrees along a plane formed through each arm.

18. The device of claim 17, wherein said first arm and said second arm are adapted to move from said first arm position to a second arm position, wherein said first arm and said second arm are substantially adjacent to each other.

19. A bird deterrent device comprising: a mounting device having an upright support, said mounting device adapted to associate with a fixed object such that said upright support is substantially vertical; a hub, said hub comprising a lower section and an upper section, said lower section having a recess sized and configured to accept said upright support such that said hub may rotate about a longitudinal axis of said upright support, said upper section having a top surface with a barrier wall extending therefrom; a first arm engaged with a first side of said barrier wall, said first arm extending from said hub in a first direction to a first arm distal end, said first arm distal end having a first arm vane assembly comprising a first arm post extending from said first arm, a first arm vane rotatably mounted to said first arm post, and a first arm spring mounted on said first arm post adjacent said first arm vane, said first arm vane having a first arm vane lower surface, said first arm spring adapted to compress to permit said first arm vane to rotate such that said lower surface thereof may rest upon an upper surface of said first arm or extend to place said first arm vane lower surface below the upper surface of said first arm; a second arm engaged with a second side of said barrier wall and extending from said hub in a second direction to a second arm distal end, said second arm distal end having a second arm vane assembly comprising a second arm post extending from said second arm, a second arm vane rotatably mounted to said second arm post, and a second arm spring mounted on said second arm post adjacent said second arm vane, said second arm vane having a second arm vane lower surface, said second arm spring adapted to compress to permit said second arm vane to rotate such that said lower surface thereof may rest upon an upper surface of said second arm or extend to place said second arm vane lower surface below the upper surface of said second arm.

20. The bird deterrent device of claim 19, wherein said bird deterrent device has a storage position wherein said first arm spring and said second arm spring are compressed such that said first arm vane lower surface rests upon the upper surface of said first arm and said second arm vane lower surface rests upon the upper surface of said second arm.

21. The bird deterrent device of claim 19, wherein said bird deterrent device has a working position wherein said first arm spring and said second arm spring are extended such that said first arm vane lower surface is below the upper surface of said first arm and said second arm vane lower surface is below the upper surface of said second arm.

22. The bird deterrent device of claim 20, where said first arm is engaged with said barrier wall at a first engagement point and said second arm is engaged with said barrier wall at a second engagement point, said arms being rotatable about said engagement points such that said arms may rotate from a position substantially parallel to said top surface of said hub to a position substantially perpendicular thereto.

23. A wind operated bird deterrent device comprising a hub; a mounting member upon which said hub may be rotatably assembled; a plurality of elongate arms radially disposed from said hub; and, a plurality of vanes, each one of said plurality of vanes associated with one of said plurality of arms, said vanes having a first position in which said vanes are adapted to be positioned parallel to said associated arm and a second position in which said vanes are adapted to move between angles approximately perpendicular to said associated arms, wherein certain of said vanes of said bird deterrent device may be wind driven in said second position.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

The present application is related to U.S. patent application Ser. No. ______ filed concurrently herewith by Peter H. Zecher, the inventor herein, entitled “BIRD DETERRENT DEVICE VANE,” the disclosure of which is hereby incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to devices adapted for use in deterring birds from alighting on objects. More specifically, the present invention relates to wind propelled bird deterrents particularly suited for use on marine craft, docks, golf courses, farms, and other locations where the existence of birds is undesirable or problematic. For purposes of simplicity, the remainder of this disclosure will generally focus on birds from the gull family and their alighting onto marine craft. However, it is to be understood that the invention is not so limiting, and is related to alighting of birds onto any object.

It is well known that birds, particularly those from the gull family, often alight on fixed objects such as marine craft for temporary perching. While perched, these birds often leave droppings that cause considerable damage to the craft. Although the damage is typically cosmetic in nature, due to the effects of uric acid contained in the droppings, the damage may be structural and may compromise the integrity of the craft. Even if merely cosmetic, the droppings are often cleaned up at considerable time and monetary expense. In either event, the droppings are detrimental and preferably avoided.

Numerous deterrents have been devised to prevent birds from alighting on fixed objects such as marine craft. Many of these deterrents rely on spikes or barbs to deter alighting altogether. Others rely on scare tactics by exhibiting characteristics which instill fear in the birds. Still others rely on movement and physical contact between the deterrent and the bird, so as to nudge the bird from its perch. One such deterrent is described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,292,319 issued to McCarthy.

Devices sold in accordance with the invention of U.S. Pat. No. 3,292,319 have proven to be effective in preventing birds from alighting on fixed objects. In particular, apparatuses built in accordance with that invention have been used effectively in the marine industry to prevent gulls from alighting on water craft.

As described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,292,319, a bird deterrent may comprise a plurality of arms extending from a rotatable hub, where each of the arms includes a vane assembly at its distal end. The vane assemblies may be adapted to cooperate with the wind to drive the arms in a circular manner in the hopes of either preventing birds from alighting altogether or nudging those that have previously perched with physical contact.

One feature of the invention described in U.S. Pat. No. 3,292,319 is that the arms may fold at the hub such that the arms may be placed adjacent to each other to reduce the overall span of the inventive device. This reduction in span is particularly useful when storing or transporting the device. In such folded condition, however, it has been found that vane portions of the vane assemblies often break because their range of motion relative to the arms is fixed between a range of approximately 45 degrees to 135 degrees relative to the arms, thus preventing the vanes from folding completely flat imparting a high degree of force on the vane hinge. This force often breaks the hinge.

The present invention has arisen to solve the issue of breakage during folding by providing for a bird deterrent device which permits the vanes to move into a position substantially parallel to the arms, such that the vanes will lay flat and not break when the device is folded and transported or stored. Other advantages over the prior art have also been realized.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the shortcomings of the prior art by providing, in certain embodiments, a bird deterrent device adapted to be folded flat for transportation or storage in such a manner so as to preserve the integrity of the device.

In accordance with one aspect of the present invention, there is provided a device for deterring birds from alighting onto an object, the device comprising a mounting device adapted to be fixed to an object on which birds may alight, a hub rotatably associated with the mounting device, a first arm adapted to extend radially from the hub to a first arm distal end, and a first arm vane assembly associated with the first arm distal end, the first arm vane assembly having a first arm vane adapted to move between a storage position substantially parallel to the first arm and a working position generally perpendicular to the first arm, wherein the first arm and the hub may rotate about the mounting device.

The first arm vane assembly may further comprise a first spring associated with the first arm vane.

The first spring may be compressed to permit the first arm vane to move from the working position to the storage position.

The first arm vane may further comprise a first post extending from the first arm, the first vane rotatably engaged with the first post.

The first spring may be mounted upon the first post.

The first vane may further comprise a first vane first locking tab adapted to prevent the first vane from rotating from the working position to a position beyond the storage position.

The first vane may further comprise a first vane second locking tab, the first vane second locking tab and the first vane first locking tab adapted to secure the first vane in the storage position by partially surrounding the first arm when the vane is in the storage position.

The first spring may be compressed to move the vane from the working position to the storage position by passing the first vane second locking tab over the first arm.

The first arm vane may be substantially above the first arm when the first arm vane is in the storage position.

The first arm vane may further comprise a bottom surface, the bottom surface adapted to rest on the first arm when the first arm vane is in the storage position.

The first arm vane bottom surface may be substantially adjacent to the first arm when the first arm vane is in the working position.

The first arm vane may rotate relative to the first arm when in the working position.

The first arm vane may further comprise a first arm vane first blocking member associated with a first side of the first arm vane, the first arm vane first blocking member adapted to limit rotation of the first arm vane when in the working position.

The first arm vane may further comprise a first arm vane second blocking member associated with a second side of the first arm vane, the first arm vane first blocking member and the first arm vane second blocking member limiting the rotation of the first arm vane between the angles of approximately 45 degrees and 135 degrees relative to the first arm.

The first arm vane may further comprise a first arm vane second blocking member associated with a second side of the first arm vane.

The device may further comprise a second arm, the second arm adapted to extend radially from the hub to a second arm distal end, and a second arm vane assembly associated with the second arm distal end, the second arm vane assembly having a second arm vane adapted to move between a second arm vane storage position substantially parallel to the second arm and a second arm vane working position generally perpendicular to the second arm, wherein the first arm, the second arm, and the hub may rotate about the mounting device.

The first arm and the second arm may be adapted to have a first arm position wherein the first arm and the second arm are displaced from each other by approximately 180 degrees along a plane formed through each arm.

The first arm and the second arm may be adapted to move from the first arm position to a second arm position, wherein the first arm and the second arm are substantially adjacent to each other.

In accordance with another aspect of the present invention, a bird deterrent device may comprise a mounting device having an upright support, the mounting device adapted to associate with a fixed object such that the upright support is substantially vertical, a hub, the hub comprising a lower section and an upper section, the lower section having a recess sized and configured to accept the upright support such that the hub may rotate about a longitudinal axis of the upright support, the upper section having a top surface with a barrier wall extending therefrom; a first arm engaged with a first side of the barrier wall, the first arm extending from the hub in a first direction to a first arm distal end, the first arm distal end having a first arm vane assembly comprising a first arm post extending from the first arm, a first arm vane rotatably mounted to the first arm post, and a first arm spring mounted on the first arm post adjacent the first arm vane, the first arm vane having a first arm vane lower surface, the first arm spring adapted to compress to permit the first arm vane to rotate such that the lower surface thereof may rest upon an upper surface of the first arm or extend to place the first arm vane lower surface below the upper surface of the first arm, and a second arm engaged with a second side of the barrier wall and extending from the hub in a second direction to a second arm distal end, the second arm distal end having a second arm vane assembly comprising a second arm post extending from the second arm, a second arm vane rotatably mounted to the second arm post, and a second arm spring mounted on the second arm post adjacent the second arm vane, the second arm vane having a second arm vane lower surface, the second arm spring adapted to compress to permit the second arm vane to rotate such that the lower surface thereof may rest upon an upper surface of the second arm or extend to place the second arm vane lower surface below the upper surface of the second arm.

The bird deterrent device may have a storage position wherein the first arm spring and the second arm spring are compressed such that the first arm vane lower surface rests upon the upper surface of the first arm and the second arm vane lower surface rests upon the upper surface of the second arm.

The bird deterrent device may have a working position wherein the first arm spring and the second arm spring are extended such that the first arm vane lower surface is below the upper surface of the first arm and the second arm vane lower surface is below the upper surface of the second arm.

The first arm may be engaged with the barrier wall at a first engagement point and the second arm may be engaged with the barrier wall at a second engagement point, the arms being rotatable about the engagement points such that the arms may rotate from a position substantially parallel to the top surface of the hub to a position substantially perpendicular thereto.

In accordance with a further aspect of the present invention, a wind operated bird deterrent device may comprise a hub, a mounting member upon which the hub may be rotatably assembled, a plurality of elongate arms radially disposed from the hub, and a plurality of vanes, each one of the plurality of vanes associated with one of the plurality of arms, the vanes having a first position in which the vanes are adapted to be positioned parallel to the associated arm and a second position in which the vanes are adapted to move between angles approximately perpendicular to the associated arms, wherein certain of the vanes of the bird deterrent device may be wind driven in the second position.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The subject matter regarded as the invention is particularly pointed out and distinctly claimed in the concluding portion of the specification. The invention, however, both as to organization and methods of operation, together with features, objects and advantages thereof may best be understood by reference to the following detailed description when read with the accompanying drawings in which:

FIG. 1 is perspective view of a bird deterrent device mounted atop a marine craft in the conventional manner;

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of a bird deterrent device in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention, in a first position open for its intended use;

FIG. 2B is a partially broken blown-up view of the bird deterrent device of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of a mounting member forming a portion of the bird deterrent device of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of a hub forming a portion of the bird deterrent device of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a portion of the bird deterrent device of FIG. 2A detailing the hub and the mounting member;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the bird deterrent device of FIG. 2A shown in a second position folded for storage or transport;

FIG. 7 is an exploded view of a vane assembly forming a portion of the bird deterrent of FIG. 2A;

FIG. 8A is a frontal view of the vane assembly of FIG. 7 shown in the folded position;

FIG. 8B is a side view of the vane assembly of FIG. 8A;

FIG. 8C is a blown-up view of a portion of the vane assembly of FIG. 8B;

FIG. 8D is a bottom view of the vane assembly of FIG. 8A

FIG. 9A is a frontal view of the vane assembly of FIG. 7 shown in the unfolded position;

FIG. 9B is a side view of the vane assembly of FIG. 9A;

FIG. 9C is a blown-up view of a portion of the vane assembly of FIG. 9B;

FIG. 9D is a bottom view of the vane assembly of FIG. 9A;

FIG. 9E is a top view of the vane assembly of FIG. 9A detailing the movement of same;

FIG. 10 is a diagrammatic representation of the movement of the bird deterrent device of the present invention in response to the wind;

FIG. 11 is a partially broken perspective view of a bird deterrent device in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention; and,

FIG. 12 is a perspective view of a hub formed in accordance with a further embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following are described the preferred embodiments of the bird deterrent device in accordance with the present invention. In describing the embodiments illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be used for the sake of clarity. However, the invention is not intended to be limited to the specific terms so selected, and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents that operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose. Where like elements have been depicted in multiple embodiments, identical reference numerals have been used in the multiple embodiments for ease of understanding.

As previously discussed, the bird deterrent device of the present invention is particularly suited for use with a marine craft to prevent birds, such as sea gulls, from alighting thereon. FIG. 1 depicts such an arrangement, where a bird deterrent device 100 is mounted to a marine craft A in the conventional manner. As is typical, the marine craft A of FIG. 1 comprises a hull B having a deck C. A cabin superstructure D is arranged on top of the deck C, where the cabin superstructure D comprises a canopy E at its uppermost portion. Typically, it is the canopy E upon which sea gulls prefer to alight and perch. Accordingly, a bird deterrent device 100 may be mounted to the canopy E to prevent birds from alighting or to shoo away those that have alighted and perched. Although not shown, bird deterrent device 100 may also be affixed to other areas of the marine craft A, such as the deck C. Notwithstanding, it is not necessary to cover the entire surface area of the marine craft as the bird deterrent device 100 also may assist in scaring away birds from alighting, even if they would not have otherwise made physical contact with the bird deterrent device 100 when perched.

FIG. 2A depicts a perspective view of a bird deterrent device 100 in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention while FIG. 2B depicts a partially broken blown-up view thereof. As shown in FIGS. 2A and 2B, the bird deterrent device comprises four main components or categories of components; namely, a mounting member 102, a hub 104, arms 106, 108, and vane assemblies 110, 112. Generally, the mounting member 102 comprises features to permit attachment to a fixed object, such as a marine craft. The hub 104 may then be fitted over the mounting member 102, such that the hub 104 may freely rotate. A pair of arms 106, 108 may extend radially from the hub 104, where the arms culminate with vane assemblies 110, 112 adapted to propel the hub in a rotational manner upon application of a sufficient wind force. Such rotation prevents birds from alighting, either through direct physical contact or by scaring the birds.

More specifically, as shown in FIG. 3, the mounting member 102 may comprise a base 114 with an upright support 116 extending therefrom. The base 114 of the mounting member 102 may be circular, as shown, or may be configured into other shapes such as orthogonal or non-geometric. In addition, the base 114 may be rigid or soft. In the case of rigid bases, the base 114 may be configured from various plastics or metals. In the case of a soft base 114, the base may be formed from a fabric material with sand or other fine grained material therein, so as to form a bean-bag like structure. Although not shown, other bases 114 may also be utilized, such as clamps and blocks.

One factor in determining an appropriate base 114 to use is to understand the characteristics of the fixed object to which the bird deterrent is going to be mounted to, and the requirements of that mounting. For example, for temporary use, a bean-bag like base may be most appropriate. For more permanent uses, a rigid plastic base may be more suited, where the plastic base may be permanently secured to the fixed object on which the device is to be placed by, for example, adhesives or mechanical fasteners.

It will be appreciated that the base's 114 main function is to buttress the upright support 116. Yet, in certain embodiments, the base 114 itself may not be required. Rather, the upright support 116 may be affixed to a fixed object without the need for a base 114. For example, the upright support 116 may be cylindrical with exterior threads. The upright support 116 may therefore be threaded to a fixed object having a suitable recess with matching interior threads.

If provided with a base 114, the upright support 116 of the mounting member 102 may be affixed to the base by several means. In one example, the upright support 116 may be cantilevered from the base 114. To establish a strong relationship between the two, the base 114 may include a recess in which the upright support 116 may be placed. Adhesive components may then be placed within the recess along with the upright support 116 such that the upright support 116 is cantilevered from the base 114. Alternatively, the upright support 116 may be pressure fit within the recess, without adhesive.

In a preferred arrangement, as shown in FIG. 3, the upright support 116 may be threaded at its proximate end 118 closest to the base 114. The base 114 may include a recess having corresponding internal threads, such that the upright support 116 may be threaded to the base. A follower member 120, such as the wing nut shown in FIG. 3, may be threaded against the base 112. It will be appreciated that the follower member 120 pulls the threads of the upright support 116 against the threads of the base 112 so as to enhance friction between the two members. This relationship helps to prevent back-out of the upright support 116 during use.

The mounting member 102 therefore provides an upright support 116 which is preferably, but not necessarily, vertical. In ideal embodiments, the upright support 116 is as near vertical as possible.

At the distal end 122 of the upright support, away from the base 112, the upright support 116 preferably culminates in a point 124. As will be discussed, the point 124 permits the hub 104 to rotate about the longitudinal axis 126 of the upright support 116 with minimal frictional loss.

FIG. 4 depicts a perspective view of a hub 104 in accordance with certain aspects of the present invention. As shown, the hub 104 may comprise an upper portion 128 and a lower portion 130. The lower portion 130 is preferably cylindrical, with a hollowed recess 132. The hollowed recess 132 is preferably sized slightly larger than the upright support 116 of the mounting member 102, such that the lower portion 130 of the hub 104 fits over the upright support and is free to spin or rotate about the longitudinal axis 126 thereof. In this regard, the hollowed recess 132 of the hub 104 may culminate in a point 134 matching the point 124 of the upright support 116, so as to minimize friction between the two components and promote smooth rotation.

The upper portion 128 of the hub 104, which is also preferably cylindrical, may taper from the lower portion 130 at a tapered section 136 such that its diameter is greater than that of the lower portion. The upper portion 128 may also culminate with a flat top 138. The flat top 138 may be separated into two roughly equal-sized sections 138a, 138b by a barrier wall 140 extending along the flat top and through a midpoint of the generally cylindrical hub 104. The barrier wall 140 may include a pair of apertures 142, 144 to facilitate mounting of the arms 106, 108 thereto. Additionally, the hub 104 may include posts 146, 148 extending from the flat top 138 to assist with aligning of the arms 106, 108.

FIG. 5 depicts a hub 104 being placed over the upright support 116 of a mounting member 102 along the direction of arrow A. It will be appreciated that the lower portion 130 of the hub 104 is preferably shorter than the overall length of the upright support 116, such that the bottom edge 150 of the hub 104 does not interfere with the top surface 152 of the base 114 of the mounting member 102.

As further shown in FIG. 5, the hub 104 may include provisions for rotatably mounting the arms 106, 108. Preferably, the proximal ends 154, 156 of each arm 106, 108 may be affixed to the barrier wall 140 by a mechanical fastener, such as a bolt 158 extending through the respective arm 106, 108 and aperture 142, 144 of the barrier wall. In this regard, the arms 106, 108 may rotate about their respective mechanical fasteners 158 such that the arms may be placed in a first position, in which the arms are rotated away from each other for use of the bird deterrent device 100 as a bird deterrent, as shown in FIG. 2, or toward each other such that the arms are generally aligned along the longitudinal axis 126 of the upright support 116 (or where the axis would be if the mounting member 102 is not connected to the hub 104), or the axis of lower portion 130 (not shown), for storage or transport of the bird deterrent device. This position is shown in FIG. 6. The bolt 158 may have a nut 160 mounted thereon to ensure that the respective arm 106, 108 remains attached. The hub 104 may also include posts 146, 148 to assist with aligning of the arms 106, 108. As shown, the arms 106, 108 may be secured between the posts 146, 148 and the barrier wall 140 when the arms are opened for use of the bird deterrent device as a bird deterrent. Thus, the posts 146, 148 assist with aligning the arms even if the mechanical fastener, such as bolt 158, is not completely tight.

It will be noted with respect to FIG. 6 that the arms 106, 108 may not be straight, but may include bent sections 106a, 108a. The bent sections 106a, 108a assist in permitting the device to fold when the arms are brought together in the second position by off-setting one vane assembly 110 from the other 112.

FIG. 7 depicts an exploded view of a typical vane assembly, for example vane assembly 112, in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention. It will be appreciated that the vane assemblies 110, 112 are typically included at the distal ends 106b, 108b (FIG. 2A) of the respective arms, so as to be distant from the hub 104 and mounting member 102. This relationship ensures that a maximum torque will be applied to the hub 104 to spin the hub on the upright support 116 even in the mildest wind conditions.

As shown in FIG. 7, a typical vane assembly 112 may comprise a vane 162 having a main portion 164 and an extension member 166. The main portion 164 of the vane 162 may be orthogonal as shown, or may be configured to various other shapes. Preferably, the main portions 164 of the vanes 162 are planar such that their design will incorporate a relatively large surface area capable of acting as a sail to catch the wind.

FIG. 11 depicts a bird deterrent device 100′ having vane assemblies 110′, 112′ in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention. In FIG. 11, the vanes 162′ are formed into the shape of a cat or owl. It will be appreciated that such animals are natural predators of birds, and tend to scare away the pests through emotional scare tactics even if physical contact between the pest and the bird deterrent device 100′ is not made. Other psychological scare tactics may also be utilized, such as using bright or metallic colors on the vanes 162′ which tend to reflect the light and “sparkle,” thus scaring away the pests.

Referring back to FIG. 7, it is shown that a vane assembly 112 may further comprise a post 168 and associated hardware, including an upper cap 170, a lower cap 172, a nut 174, and a spring 176. Preferably, the extension member 166 of the vane 162 includes an aperture 178 through which the post 168 may be inserted. The post 168 may include a threaded upper portion 180 and a threaded lower portion 182 separated by an unthreaded middle portion 184, where the threaded upper portion 180 and threaded lower portion 182 extend from the aperture 178 of the extension member 166 when the post 168 is inserted therethrough, the upper threaded portion from one end and the lower threaded portion from the other. The arm 108 may also include an aperture 186 at its distal end 108b through which the threaded lower portion 182 of the post 168 may extend.

To install a vane 162 upon an arm 108, one may insert the post 168 without upper cap 170 through the aperture 178 of the extension member 166 and then thread the nut 174 onto the lower threaded portion 182 of the post 168 such that the nut is threaded a considerable distance toward the unthreaded middle portion 184, at least far enough to permit the threaded lower portion 182 to fully penetrate the arm 108 with enough threads exposed to permit the lower cap 172 to the threaded thereon. The lower threaded portion 182 may then be placed through the aperture 186 of the arm 108 and the lower cap 172 threaded thereon.

The spring 176 may then be slid onto the post 168 over the upper threaded portion 180 such that the spring 176 may rest against an upper edge 188 of the extension member 166 of the vane 162. The upper cap 170 may then be threaded onto the upper threaded portion 180 of the post 168 to secure the post and vane 162 to the arm 108.

Preferably, the fitment of the components is such that the vane 162 may rotate about the post 168. For example, the post 168 is preferably sized to a diameter which is slightly smaller than the diameter of the aperture 178 through the extension member 166 of the vane 162. In addition, the post 168 is preferably sufficiently long such that the spring 176 is not either fully compressed, or compressed enough to exhibit sufficient force on the vane 162 to prevent rotation thereof.

The main portion of each vane 164 is also preferably provided with a pair of blocking members 190, 192 (FIG. 8D), with a first blocking member 190 on a first side 194 of the vane 162 and a second blocking member 192 (FIG. 8D) on a second side 196 (FIG. 8D). The blocking members 190, 192 are preferably shaped in the general form of a triangle, with a base 198 at the vane and a rounded distal peak 200.

As shown in FIGS. 8A-8D and 9A-9D, the vane 162 is designed to be moved from a first position where the vane is substantially parallel to the arm 108 (the first position is shown most clearly in FIG. 8A) and a second position in which the vane is generally perpendicular to the arm (the second position being shown most clearly in FIG. 9E). In the first position, the main portion 164 of the vane 162 sits entirely above the level of the arm 108. In order to be placed in such position, the spring 176 may be compressed and the vane 162 lifted and rotated relative to the arm 108 such that the blocking members 190, 192 at the lower portion of the vane 162 are above the distal end 108b of arm 108. The vane 162 may then be released where the force of the spring 176 may assist with maintaining the vane in such position. In addition, the bottom surface 202 of the blocking members 190, 192 may be provided with a pair of locking tabs 204, 206. The locking tabs 204, 206 and their relation to the blocking members 192, 194 and arm 108 are best shown in FIG. 8C.

As shown, a first locking tab 204 may be shaped substantially as a right-angle triangle, with the hypotenuse 208 facing away from the bottom surface 202 of the vane 162 and the shortest leg 210 adjacent the middle of the vane, generally parallel to the length of the post 168. The second locking tab 206 may be much smaller, and may comprise a simple raised bump. It will be appreciated that the locking tabs 204, 206 work in a coordinated effort to maintain the vane 162 in the first position.

As stated previously, in order to move the vane 162 into the first position, the vane may be lifted with respect to the arm 108 to compress the spring 176. The vane 162 may then be rotated such that the vane is parallel to the arm 108. This rotation is preferably conducted in a direction toward the second locking tab 206, such that the second locking tab may be lifted over the arm 108. Upon continued rotation, the shortest leg 210 of the first locking tab 204 will abut the arm 108 to prevent further rotation. Upon release, the spring 176 will push down on the vane 162 and position the arm 108 in the well 212 created between the two locking tabs 204, 206, thus holding the vane in the first position.

To move the vane 162 to the second position, one may lift the vane to again compress the spring 176, and then rotate the vane over the second locking tab 206 until the blocking member 192 clears the arm 108. The vane 162 may then be released where the spring 176 will push the vane into position alongside the arm 108, such as shown in FIGS. 9A-9D.

Once in the second position, and as previously discussed, the vane 162 may be permitted to rotate about the post 168 within the limits defined by the blocking members 190, 192. This angle of rotation A is shown in FIG. 9E, and may be approximately a total 90 degrees in preferred embodiments, leaving outside angles of 45 and 135 degrees with respect to the arm 108. In other embodiments, the angle may be anywhere from approximately 1 degree to nearly 180 degrees.

The angulation of the vane 162 relative to the arm 108 previously discussed permits the transfer of energy from the wind into the bird deterrent device 100 to spin the arm 108 and hub 104 about the mounting member 102. For example, at any one time, certain vanes may be driven by the wind. As shown in FIG. 10, the wind may blow from direction W. For ease of reference, the wind driven vanes will be identified by the symbol DV (driven vane) and the non-driven vanes by the symbol NDV (non-driven vane). As will be shown, the driven vanes DV may be driven through approximately 270 degrees of rotation, as shown by angle A.

Assuming a starting position at A-A, the downwind vane will be displaced by the wind from the position shown by the dashed lines to the position shown by the fixed line. This vane will thereafter be driven by wind W to rotate the bird deterrent device 100 to the position indicated by B-B. The upwind vane at position A-A faces directly away from the wind, and is therefore non-driven NDV. At position B-B, the driven vane continues to drive the bird deterrent device through its rotation on to position C-C. In addition, the vane which was a non-driven vane at position A-A becomes a driven vane DV at position B-B due to the angulation of the vane relative to the wind. In this respect, two vanes of the bird deterrent device are driven vanes DV when in position B-B. Moving to position C-C, it is shown that the downwind vane rotates to a position facing away from the wind W, and becomes a non-driven vane NDV while the upwind vane continues to be driven DV, thus rotating the bird deterrent device 100 to the position indicated by reference D-D. In position D-D, the vanes retain their status from position C-C as either a driven vane or non-driven vane, thus rotating the bird deterrent device back to the position indicated by A-A, to start the process over again.

As shown and described, the inventive bird deterrent device 100 therefore serves to spin or rotate about the upright support 116 to deter birds from alighting upon a fixed object, or to shoo those that have previously perched, in conjunction with the force of the wind. Additional features of the bird deterrent device 100 allow the device to fold for transport or storage.

FIG. 12 depicts an alternate embodiment of a hub 104′ in accordance with certain aspects of the present invention. It will be appreciated that the hub 104′ generally operates in a similar manner, and serves a similar function as the hub 104 depicted and described with respect to FIG. 4.

As shown, and as is similar to the hub 104 depicted in FIG. 4, the hub 104′ depicted in FIG. 12 comprises an upper portion 128′ and a lower portion 130′. The lower portion 130′ is preferably cylindrical, with a hollowed recess 132′. The hollowed recess 132′ is preferably sized slightly larger than the upright support 116 of the mounting member 102 (FIG. 3), such that the lower portion 130′ of the hub 104′ fits over the upright support and is free to spin or rotate about the longitudinal axis 126 thereof. In this regard, the hollowed recess 132′ of the hub 104′ may culminate in a point 134′ matching the point 124 of the upright support 116, so as to minimize friction between the two components and promote smooth rotation. The upper portion 128′ of the hub 104′, which is also preferably cylindrical, may taper from the lower portion 130′ at a tapered section 136′ such that its diameter is greater than that of the lower portion.

In a departure from the arrangement of the hub 104 depicted in FIG. 4, the hub 104′ depicted in FIG. 12 may include three barrier walls, barrier wall 140′ and two exterior barrier walls 214, 216, separated by two sloped upper surfaces 218, 220. As will be discussed later, the two sloped surfaces 218, 220, may slope in different directions.

The exterior barrier walls 214, 216 may include apertures 222, 224, through which screws (not shown) may be driven. A first one of the screws may penetrate through one of the exterior barrier walls, wall 216 for example, at aperture 224 and then through an arm, for example arm 106, before finally penetrating the barrier wall 140′ at aperture 142′. It will be appreciated that the other arm 108 may be secured by utilizing aperture 222 of exterior wall 214 and aperture 144′ of barrier wall 140′. In this regard, the mating of the arms 106, 108, with hub 104′ will typically be more secure than the mating of arms 106, 108 with hub 104. This relationship is such because the screw (not shown) will be cantilevered in the first example and secured at both its proximal and distal ends in the second example.

As previously stated, the hub 104 includes sloped surfaces 218, 220. These surfaces are sloped in different directions, such that the low end of one is adjacent the high end of the other. It will be appreciated that the arms 106, 108 may rest against the sloped surfaces 218, 220 to project the arms out at a desired angle. When so sloped, the arms 106, 108 may not include bent sections 106a, 108a, as the sections may not be required to project the arm in a preferred direction. Alternatively, the surfaces 218, 220 may not be sloped and the arms may or may not include the bent sections 106a, 108a.

As with hub 104, hub 104′ may be placed over the mounting member 102 such that the upright support enters the hollowed recess 132′. The hub 104′ may then rotate about the upright support to utilize the inventive device.

Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.