About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Question of the week: Why is the cardinal attacking my window?

Cardinals and Windows
video

Cardinals are highly territorial of an area they have chosen for nesting. Males vigorously defend their territory from other male cardinals and will even attack their own reflection in a window or car mirror. Even females will attack windows, which can be quite distressing to people living inside the house.

If the attack on windows is a regular occurrence and not just an accidental window strike, the likely behavior is a reaction to the bird seeing an intruder on its territory. The problem most frequently occurs during the breeding season.

Both Robins and Cardinals are well known for this type of behavior but it can occur with just about any other bird. A simple solution to this problem is to cover the window with screens or rub the window with a bar of soap to decrease the reflection. Wild Birds Unlimited also sells a 48 inch by 6 inch static-cling decal called Cardinal Alert which is made to be placed across a window just above the lower edge.

To increase success, interrupt the bird’s bad behavior by going outside when the bird first attacks or even going so far as to spray it with a hose. The objective here is to shock the bird out of its pattern of territoriality. Hopefully these suggestions will be enough to stop the attacks.