Monday, July 24, 2017

Bluebird versus Honda Mirror

This is a new thing for me: a male bluebird attacking the mirror of a car. I've seen other birds (especially male cardinals!) engaging in this territorial behavior, but not a bluebird. So this is a first.

(A quick internet search revealed that American robins often attack their reflections in mirrors and windows, too, and bluebirds and robins are pretty closely related--they're both thrushes, look at their body shapes, legs, and bills--so it shouldn't be a surprise that both do it.)

Look! Mr. Bluebird was so obsessed with fighting his perceived interloper (who absolutely refused to leave and was always there in the mirror each time he looked), he let me get close enough for some pictures:

Oh, it was so hot last week! Maybe the bird was feeling extra peevish, nervous, and out-of-sorts. I didn't notice the bluebird doing this yesterday, when it was cooler. But on Thursday, when I took these pictures, it got up into the high nineties by midday, and at midmorning he was panting from his exertions.

Here's a fun quiz: "How can you tell when a bird's been attacking your car's mirrors?" Two pictures provide the answer:

. . . And how do you keep the birds away from your mirrors (if not to protect the mirrors, then at least to prevent the bird from hurting his bill or from getting heatstroke)? In the past, my parents have slipped a big old sock over their mirrors: easy on, easy off.

My solution was to tie a ubiquitous white plastic grocery bag around each mirror. It looks ridiculous, and it's a bit of a pain to untie them in order to drive somewhere . . . but at least it saves the bird from wasting his precious energy attacking a mirage.

Silly thing. There's a reason why calling someone a "birdbrain" is an insult.

Of course, after I put bags over my mirrors, he moved on to our neighbor's car.

And one final thought: Wowsa! We have bluebirds in our neighborhood!

We have not had a great number of, well, interesting songbirds in our neighborhood recently (of course; see post on cats below). We have the usual: bluejays, grackles, cardinals, sparrows, chickadees, catbirds, Carolina wrens, and occasional flocks of waxwings that come through. There are also plenty of chimney swifts and mourning doves, and a few Eurasian collared doves, as well.

But this summer we have seen at least three bluebirds (the male plus a female plus a female or immature male), which clearly are living somewhere in the area; I love their songs, those mellow little comments. And last night at sunset, we watched a kingbird repeatedly fly out from the top of the pine trees across the street.

It's been a real treat. I hope they all stick around!

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