Birding/Cardinal behavior


For the past two months, a cardinal has been flying into windows on one corner of my house. It appears that the bird is trying, repeatedly and without rest sometimes, to get inside. It wakes me up some mornings and I see/hear the bird most every day. Is this typical behavior for Cardinals or is something unique occurring?

Cardinals and many other birds are territorial and when they establish territories in the spring they become aggressive and chase off intruders. Unfortunately, they don't distinguish between their own reflection in a window (or car mirror) and try to chase that off. The solution to the problem is to eliminate the reflection. Misting the outside of the window with a very weak detergent or soda solution will eliminate the reflection but will also impair visibility for you. Awnings, eave extensions, and window screens will eliminate all reflection and stop the collision problem. Hanging ornaments such as wind chimes, wind socks, and potted plants also help. The behavior will stop when nesting begins.


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Roger Lederer


Any and all about WILD birds - the science of ornithology. Information about birdwatching, ecology, conservation, migration, behavior, banding, rehabilitation, feeding, songs, binoculars, identification, and careers in ornithology. No questions about pet or caged birds, please.


Have a PhD and over forty years as a professional ornithologist - research, teaching, author, speaker, webmaster of . Have written thirty scientific papers, three bird field guides, a textbook in ecology four other bird books, the latest being "Beaks, Bones, and Bird Songs". Have traveled to 100 countries watching birds and have spoken to hundreds of groups about birds.

PhD in Zoology/Ornithology; Emeritus Professor of Biological Sciences; former Dean of the College of Natural Sciences at California State University, Chico

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