Spring is here and once again, Duncraft is receiving lots of calls about a strange, but very common phenomenon–cardinals repeatedly flying into windows, car mirrors or any other reflective surface. Other birds have been reported exhibiting the same behavior–bluebirds, robins and wrens to name a few. What is going on and how do you stop it?
Although female birds have been known to do this, it’s mostly male birds that repeatedly fly into windows. The reason is simple. In spring all birds are staking out territories. Birds seldom allow other birds of the same species to share territories because too many of one species in an area depletes food sources and nesting locations. A cardinal may tolerate a catbird nesting nearby because the birds are after different nesting locations and different foods, but it won’t tolerate another cardinal. When a male cardinal spots another male, a chasing fight will ensue. The dominate male gets the mate, the nesting location, the territory and the food in that area. A lot is at stake! When a cardinal happens to see its reflection in your window, or car mirror, it’s seeing another bird in its territory–and that’s not allowed. The bird will continuously attack until the other bird goes away. In nature, the other bird will indeed go away, but that reflection just stays there! Being persistent, the cardinal just continues to attack its own reflection.
So, how do you make the bird stop? All you have to do is block the reflection. The easiest way to do this is to put a piece of cardboard on the outside of the window where the bird is attacking. It may not look pretty, but you don’t have to do it for long–only until the bird thinks the other bird has departed. As soon as the bird is mated and is busy with nest building and feeding nestlings, he’ll calm down and won’t be worried about intruders. Other cardinals will be busy too, in territories of their own.
So, what initially seemed like a mystery turns out to be a simple, springtime response to another bird–and it’s easily remedied!
Check out these other articles about this very common problem…
There is a male cardinal who has been hanging out by, and repeatedly flying into, one of my kitchen windows for months now. He sits in the branch of a sapling.
Publish Date: 02/11/2012 19:02
If you do find a bird who’s hurt themselves by flying into your window / sliding door, the best way to? take care of them is to put them into a dark area in a box with air holes and let it rest for a while. Don’t disturb them too much. After a few hours, …
Publish Date: 03/11/2012 5:09
A Persistent Cardinal. This past fall we had a cardinal that would fly into the glass of our back door every single day. He would show up as soon as the sun came up and perch on the back of this chair. He made a BIG mess! He would sit there for a while and chirp away. Then he would look at … I did have the same problem and was tired of finding little dead birds from flying into my patio three panel window. The ribbon relects the sun and scares the birds away from the …
Publish Date: 02/16/2012 7:00