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.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Bluebird mating ritual interrupted by the male bird fluttering into window

I saw a pair of bluebirds sitting on one of my bird houses early Sunday, but then the female seemed to disappear. Monday the male bird kept fluttering and bumping into my window both In the front and the back of my house. Is there a logical explanation for this? 

When you watch "young love" or in other words inexperienced bluebirds choosing mates and territory, the outcome is never a sure thing. In the spring bluebird family groups break up and previously unattached males and females move to new territories. The young will move from the parental territories eventually to another location before choosing a mate. This is called natal dispersal and reduces the chances of inbreeding.

Older birds can quickly re-establish their connection and begin nesting as soon as the weather permits. Young males at the beginning of nesting season start singing loudly from tree tops to attract a mate and announce their presence to neighboring males.

Once he attracts a female, the songs become quieter. You may also observe different visual displays. The wing-wave is where a bird sort of twitters his wings like a baby bird to get a females attention, usually near a birdhouse. They also use a lopsided flight or hover flight to show off a potential nesting site.

Unfortunately if something happens to the female or she moves on to a better mate, the male is left alone. With his increased testosterone, aggressive behavior is stimulated. If he sees another male, a battle ensues. And when he sees his reflection in the window, he thinks it looks like another bird just his size trying to steal his territory.

When you see a bird take offense at seeing his reflection in your windows or car mirrors take action immediately! His domineering behavior should be curbed before it becomes just a bad habit. The objective is to shock the bird out of its pattern of territoriality. Robins, blackbirds, and cardinals are also well known for this type of behavior but it can occur with any bird.

They are usually unattached birds without a mate to direct them in a productive direction. Most birds do stop after a couple weeks of window pounding in the spring, but it's better to try and deter the birds just in case it turns out to be an action that is performed so often that it becomes almost an involuntary response.

Some tips to deter bird window attacks:

• The Warning Web* decal fools birds away from a window that looks like it has a spider web.
• Cover the window with screens and shut the blinds on your windows when you can.
• Rub the window with a bar of soap to decrease the reflection.
• Hang balloons or Flutter Scare tape* to distance the bird from that area.
• Install a Window Feeder.* This breaks the reflection and other birds interrupt the birds battles with the reflection.

*Available at Wild Birds Unlimited – East Lansing, Michigan

Related Articles:
Emergency Numbers for injured birds http://bit.ly/KLhavK
How to stop the Mad Cardinal Attacking My Window. http://bit.ly/KLhESM
How do Birds Migrate? http://bit.ly/nNCI6d
Follow spring migration patterns online http://goo.gl/WLGiu

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