Title:
Bird Guard for a Swimming Pool Spa
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus that protects swimming pools and spas from birds that typically land on or near the edge of a spa's spillway into a swimming pool and excrete waste on or near the edge of the spillway.



Inventors:
Christmann, Mark A. (Glendale, AZ, US)
Application Number:
11/552253
Publication Date:
04/24/2008
Filing Date:
10/24/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H4/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HUYNH, KHOA D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VENJURIS, P.C. (PHOENIX, AZ, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A bird dropping prevention apparatus for use on a spa spillway comprising: a. a bridge, said bridge further comprising: i. a first side; ii. a second side; and iii. a third side; b. said first side and second sides are substantially perpendicular to said third side and are substantially parallel to each other; c. said first side further comprising an opening; d. said second side further comprising an opening.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: a. said third side is adjustable along an axis that is parallel to said third side.

3. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: a. the opening of said first or second side further comprises at least one notch;

4. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: a. said bridge is constructed of a transparent material.

5. A bird dropping prevention apparatus for use on a spa spillway comprising: a. a bridge, said bridge further comprising: i. a first side; ii. a second side; and iii. a third side; b. said first side and second sides are substantially perpendicular to said third side and are substantially parallel to each other; c. said first or second side further comprising a removable panel.

6. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein: a. said third side is adjustable along an axis that is parallel to said third side.

7. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein: a. said first or second side further comprises a hinged panel such that said hinged panel may open thereby forming an opening of said first or second side.

8. The apparatus of claim 5 wherein: a. said bridge is constructed of a transparent material.

9. A method of preventing a bird from excreting its droppings on a swimming pool spa spillway or its surrounding area comprising: a. forming a bridge having at least a first, second, and a third side; b. forming an opening on said first and second sides; c. securing said bridge across the opening of said spillway such that said water may flow from said spa through said openings on said first and second sides.

10. The method of claim 9 further comprising: a. coupling a removable panel to said first or second sides.

11. The method of claim 9 further comprising; a. adjusting said third side to fit within said spa opening.

12. The method of claim 10 further comprising; a. adjusting said third side to fit within said spa opening.

13. The method of claim 9 further comprising; a. constructing said bridge from transparent material.

14. The method of claim 9 further comprising: a. forming said opening of said first or second side with at least one notch.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to an apparatus that protects swimming pools and spas from birds that typically land on or near the edge of a spa's spillway into a swimming pool and excrete waste on or near the edge of the spillway.

2. Background of the Invention

Many in-ground swimming pools that are constructed also include a spa feature. Usually, the spa feature is constructed as a separate unit that is slightly higher in elevation, yet it remains adjacent to the swimming pool. When the spa feature is constructed in this manner, the spa usually includes a u-shaped spillway that is carved out of the deck of the spa for water from the spa to escape into the swimming pool. This feature is typically used to prevent water from overflowing on to the spa deck or it can be used as an aesthetic waterfall feature that allows water to spill into the swimming pool.

By having a u-shaped spillway in the spa, it can be an attraction for birds to use it as a landing area. Birds are notorious for using spa spillways to as an easy way to get access to drinking water from the spa. Normally, it is very difficult for birds to obtain water to drink from the deck of a pool or spa. T his is due to the design of most pools whereby the water level is usually several inches below the deck. However, in a spa spillway, the water level is normally no more than an inch below the spillway. In designs where the spillway is used as a water feature, the water level is typically at the same height as the spillway. Thus, birds are able to land on the spillway and have easy access to drinking water from the spa.

Unfortunately, as birds land on the spillway to drink water, they are inclined to leave their droppings behind on the spillway. Certainly, it is desirable to either eliminate or discourage birds from landing on the spillways of spas and leaving behind droppings that may not only accumulate on the spillway, but may be transferred into the water of either the spa or an adjacent swimming pool. The present invention eliminates a bird's ability to both land on the spillway of a spa and drink water from the spa. By doing so, the bird is discouraged from remaining near the spillway of the spa and leaving its droppings behind. Furthermore, if the bird does remain for an extended period of time, the present invention prevents any droppings from landing on the spillway area of the spa by acting as a landing area for the droppings.

U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,845,607 and 5,092,088, as well as U.S. Patent Application Publication 2005/0268393, all disclose various forms of bird deterring devices or covers for bodies of water such as a swimming pool spa. However, none of the prior art patents or publications discloses the apparatus and method as disclosed herein that not only protects the spillway and deck of a spa, but maintains the aesthetic appeal of the spa without unsightly hardware.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Broadly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a bird dropping prevention apparatus for use on a spa spillway;

More particularly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a bird dropping prevention apparatus for use on a spa spillway that comprises a bridge that is secured to the spillway;

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a bridge with at least three sides that is secured to a spa spillway where two of the sides are substantially perpendicular to each other;

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a bridge with at least three sides that is secured to a spa spillway where two of the sides have openings that allow water to flow under the bridge;

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a bridge with at least three sides that is secured to a spa spillway where the openings on the two sides of the bridge may be of various grooved patterns;

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a bridge with at least three sides that is secured to a spa spillway such that the bridge is adjustable to fit varying spillway surface areas;

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a bridge with at least three sides that may be constructed from transparent material.

The description of the invention which follows, together with the accompanying drawings should not be construed as limiting the invention to the example shown and described, because those skilled in the art to which this invention appertains will be able to devise other forms thereof within the ambit of the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the spa guard shown using two L-shaped panels and a grooved teeth pattern.

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the spa guard as in FIG. 1 showing a transparent view through the top of the guard displaying the grooved teeth pattern on the rear portion.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the spa guard showing the two I-shaped panels in a fully open position.

FIG. 4 is a top view of the spa guard showing the top side in fully closed and retracted position.

FIG. 5 is a top view of the spa guard showing the top side in fully open position.

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of the spa guard shown use on a pool spa.

FIG. 7 is a side view of the spa guard showing a rectangular groove pattern is on the side panel.

FIG. 8 is a side view of the spa guard showing a curved wave groove pattern on the side panel.

FIG. 9 is a side view of the spa guard showing a saw toothed groove pattern on the side panel.

FIG. 10 is a side view of the spa guard showing a wide wave groove pattern on the side panel.

FIG. 11 is a perspective view of an alternate embodiment of the spa guard showing a hinged panel on the side of the spa guard.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

By way of one example of many to serve as background in understanding the present invention, a spa spillway guard for preventing bird droppings from landing on spa spillways is described herein.

As shown in FIG. 1, a spa spillway guard in the form of a bridge 100 is shown. Generally, the bridge 100 is formed from two L-shaped sections 110 and 120. The sections 110 and 120 are secured along two horizontal axes 135 by screws 130 and bolts 132 as also shown in FIG. 3. The sections 110 and 120 can be adjusted along the axes 135 as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5 so that the width of the bridge 100 can conform to the size of a spa spillway 250 as shown in FIG. 6. It is understood by one skilled in the art that the bridge 100 could also be adjusted along axes that are perpendicular to the axes 135 so that the length of the bridge 100 can conform to the size of the spillway 250.

By securing the two L-shaped sections 110 and 120, the bridge 100 forms three sides 160, 170 and 180. Sides 160 and 180 contain notches 140 and 150 as can be seen in FIGS. 1 and 2. These notches 140 and 150 can be of any suitable shape such as a saw toothed pattern 140 (also shown in FIG. 9) or rectangular notches 141 as shown in FIG. 7, curved notches 142 as shown in FIG. 8, or a long wave pattern 143 as shown in FIG. 10. It is understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that the notches can be of any suitable pattern as long as they are large enough to allow liquid to pass through sides 160 and 180 when the bridge 100 is secured to a flat surface.

In an alternate embodiment as shown in FIG. 11, a bridge 300 is shown as a single unit with three sides 160, 170 and 180. The bridge 300 is shown with panels 190 secured to the sides 160 and 180 of the bridge 300 by at least one hinge 195. The panels 190 may be opened to provide a full rectangular opening 197 on each side 160 and 180 of the bridge 300.

The bridge 100 (or 300) is shown in its intended use in FIG. 6. On many spas, such as the one shown (200), the spa 200 is constructed at a slightly higher elevation than a swimming pool 260 which is normally adjacent to the spa 200. The spa typically contains water 220 and has a deck 210 that surrounds the perimeter of the spa 200 in all but one area. The spa 200 of the type shown in FIG. 6 normally includes a spillway 250 that is positioned directly over an area of the swimming pool 260. The water 220 in the spa 200 is typically set at a level as high, or nearly as high, as the base of the spillway 250. This allows excess water 220 to spill into the swimming pool 260 due to either splashing from people using the spa 200, or from drainage of excess water 220 in the spa 200.

In most swimming pools 260 or spas 200, the deck 210 is constructed so that the base of the deck 210 is several inches above the water level 270 or 220 to prevent overflow in case of excess rain or splashing when the pool or spa is in use. However, this is not true of the spillway 250 of the spa 200.

It is a well known fact that most domestic birds as the one shown 230 in FIG. 6 are attracted to landing areas near puddles or pools of water so that they can drink the water. If the water level of a swimming pool or spa is high enough relative to the deck of the pool or spa, the deck becomes an ideal area for the bird 230 to land and drink the water from the pool or spa. Because the spillway of the typical is at the same level as the water level in the spa, the spillway is ideal for a bird to land and drink water from the spa. Unfortunately, the bird 230 will leave its droppings behind on the spillway 250 as it drinks the water. Furthermore, if other birds see the bird 230 enjoying a drink of water 220 from the spa 200, other birds will join the bird 230 on the spillway 250.

By securing the bridge 100 or 300 to the spillway 250 of the spa 200, the bridge 100 or 300 will serve two purposes. First, the bridge 100 or 300 precludes the bird 230 from landing directly on the spillway 250. Thus, should the bird 230 remain long enough on the top side 170 of the bridge 100 or 300, any droppings will fall on the top side 170 of the bridge 100 or 300. Secondly, because the top side 170 of the bridge 100 or 300 is several inches above the spillway 250 of the spa 200, the bird 230 is incapable of drinking the water 220 in the spa. Thus, the bird 230 is discouraged from remaining on the area near the spillway 250 and leaving its droppings behind on the deck 210 or the bridge 100 or 300. When the bridge 100 or 300 is properly secured to the spillway 250, the water 220 from the spa 200 may flow 240 unimpeded directly through the notches 140 on the first and second sides 160 and 180 of the bridge 100 or 300 and into the swimming pool 260. The notches 140 also serve to prevent the bird 230 from landing on the spillway 250 under the bridge 100 or 300. However, it is understood by one of ordinary skill in the art that even without the notches 140, 141, 142, 143 or the panel 190, most birds 230 will be discouraged from landing on the bridge 100 or 300 due to their inability to drink from the water 220, nor, if the bird 230 is large enough, will it be able to fit under the bridge 100 or 300 and land on the spillway 250 of the spa 200.

With regard to the bridge 100 or 300, it is preferable that the bridge 100 or 300 be constructed from transparent material as shown in FIG. 2 such as urethane or plastic for aesthetic purposes so that the continuity of the view the deck 210 or the spillway 250 is not compromised. It is also preferable that the height of sides 160 and 180 of the bridge 100 or 300 be constructed so that the top side 170 of the bridge 100 or 300 is at the same level as the deck 220 of the spa 200 so that the surface area of the perimeter of the deck 210 is continuous.

While the apparatus for practicing the within inventive method, as well as said method herein shown and disclosed in detail is fully capable of attaining the objects and providing the advantages hereinbefore stated, it is to be understood that it is merely illustrative of the presently preferred embodiment of the invention and that no limitations are intended to the detail of construction or design herein shown other than as defined in the appended claims.

Although the invention has been described in detail with reference to one or more particular preferred embodiments, persons possessing ordinary skill in the art to which this invention pertains will appreciate that various modifications and enhancements may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the claims that follow.