Wednesday, March 11, 2009

We Have A Crazy Bird At Our Window!

"Hi, we have a crazy bird at our window. Is there anything you can do?" Staff members at the Audubon Centers at both the Francis Beidler Forest and at Silver Bluff have had to field that question every spring. The birds not suffering mental instability due to disease or an exotic, brain-eating parasite, but they are crazy...crazy serious! This is mating season! Crest up!

So serious are many male birds about passing along their DNA to the next generation, that they will wear themselves out defending their nesting territory and the mate to which they have paired. Any other male of the species is a threat as he could couple with the female of the territory resulting in offspring that are not of the residing male. Reflections in windows or mirrors are perceived as male threats...and what a threat! They are MAGNIFICENT! If the male defending the territory could verbalize its feelings, it might think aloud, "This guy looks as good as me. This is going to be tough! I've got to give it my all!" As the sun's location in the sky changed through the day, the male Northern Cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) in the images move to more reflective windows and finally settled down.

The male Hooded Warbler (Wilsonia citrina) carried on in a similar fashion last year, but we eventually learned what else was bothering that individual. The bird's nest was right outside of our office window, so any reflection was a close and immediate threat.

Spring is rapidly approaching and the swamp will only get crazier!

Images by Mark Musselman

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