Saturday, April 05, 2008


Hubby has been redoing our powder room, tiling the floor, new plumbing, paint et al. We took the window covering off and since then we've been visited by some kooky cardinals. The first few times we thought they were flying into the glass by accident but quickly noticed that this behavior was on purpose. Upon doing some research I discovered that when they see their reflection in the glass they think they're seeing another bird invading their territory. You may think this female is peeking into our bathroom window but in actuality she's doing the stare down, trying to intimidate the "other bird". When the trespasser stares back, she pecks at it. It pecks back.

The next tactic is to flap their wings at the intruder. The intruder flaps back. The final act of hostility is to fly into the glass. I don't think they hurt themselves but I don't want them to hurt their little bird brains. In my reading I found that male cardinals can spend hours sparring with their reflections. In our case it seems to be the female doing more of the fighting although the male does do some posturing.
While she looks rather angelic, in her mind she's one tough bad ass. I guess she does not want to share her mate with another female and I can't blame her!

Some other facts I learned are cardinals did not live up north until the mid twentieth century. In the 1800's cardinals were trapped down south during the winter and sent to Europe where they were sought after for caged birds. They were prized for their scarlet red plumage and distinctive song.This ended when the Migratory Bird Treaty Act was signed in 1881.

Cardinals sing all year long and the male and female call back and forth to each other. Females sing longer and more complex songs than males giving them directions and when to bring food. Sounds like the female wears the pants in this relationship. Want to hear their song? Click here. So there you have it, a mini lesson on cardinals.


tornwordo said...

I guess perfect reflections don't occur that often in nature. I wonder if they do that to water reflections?

Kitten Herder said...

Cool. Thanks for sharing. I love cardinals. They are SO pretty to see and hear.