Bird Question: Stopping a Dive-Bombing Cardinal

OCTOBER 7, 2011:
For the last 3 years, we seem to have cardinals dive bombing the front windows of our house. I do not know if this is the same bird every year, but several times a day the bird will make a bee line for my front windows and slam into it, literally fall to the ground, get up, fly away, and do it again.

Any reasons why, or what we can do?

-Peggy

 

Thank you for contacting Travis Audubon with your question about Northern Cardinal behavior. You are observing a common behavior of this year-round resident of central Texas. The bird is responding to his own reflection in your window and trying to run off that “interloper”. There are a couple of things you can do to help him come to his senses.

If there is any way for you to break up his reflection, that is best. One of the things I’ve done at home is to run a piece of mono-filament fishing line horizontally across the window, about 1/3 of the way down (I drove small nails into the window frame that don’t show). Then I’ve hung streamers from that line about every foot, from the fishing line down to almost the bottom of the window. I use survey tape, but you can use any sort of light-weight ribbon that will flap in the breeze. This serves to scare the birds away, lets them know there is a window there, and hopefully breaks up the reflection enough that they don’t think there is a rival male bird there.

Other things you can try are keeping your drapes closed, or pointing a spotlight at the window during the day to keep the reflection off. The main point is to change what the bird is seeing from the outside.

I hope this helps! Good luck!

-Laurie