I’ve heard it said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different outcome. I wonder if this applies to birds as well?
At my son Chris’ house here in Texas a Cardinal bird repeatedly flies into windows all day long. This particular bird starts about six a.m. attacking one of two bedroom windows; either the one where I sleep or the one where my grandson sleeps. He does this for an hour or two then changes to the other bedroom window for a while before coming back to the first one, striking it with his beak every second or two. Sometimes in the afternoon he changes to the dining room window…but not always, sometimes he just does battle with the two bedroom windows.
They’ve put long swirly things in the tree next to the windows to scare him away to no avail. He’s very determined, and I’d think after doing this same thing for months, he’d be very tired. It seems to me his beak would crack, or his neck would be injured…or he would just get tired of his silly game. Obviously he has nothing better to do, not even eat…it’s almost as if he’s possessed.
In my research on this subject I’ve discovered that Cardinal birds are very territorial so perhaps this started because he saw his reflection and was protecting his territory from a perceived intruder and then it just became a habit. Strange to think of birds developing habits, especially bad habits. From all I’ve read on the subject if he can be deflected from doing this for a few days, the habit will be broken. It’s suggested that placing a black image of a hawk on the inside of the window or a hanging a basket of flowers on the outside of the window [not feasible in this case since it's a high unreachable window] might be enough to stop this unsettling behavior. Perhaps my grandson can be persuaded to climb a ladder and attach a hawk image to the inside of the glass. It would certainly be to his benefit….and mine.
I’ve seen birds in the past fly unknowingly into a window and become stunned or kill themselves. But this continual calculated pecking on the window makes one think of the Alfred Hitchcock movie “The Birds” which gave people nightmares and brought about Ornithophobia [fear of birds] in susceptible persons. Birds have long held a place in folk-lore for good or evil; take for instance the phoenix, rising from its own ashes, the blue bird bringing happiness, or the albatross as an unlucky symbol. Edgar Allen Poe wrote “The Raven” depicting mans decent into madness. Old wives tales often ascribe common birds, such as the turtle-dove, as harbingers of death. A kernel of truth maybe? Where there’s smoke there’s fire?
I’m certainly not afraid but I’ve moved from the bedroom to the living room and this insane Cardinal is now pecking the dining room window with renewed energy. It’s almost as if he’s tracking where I am to bring me as much unease as possible. I’m really not afraid but….dare I go outside?