Monday, June 27, 2011

Under siege


Like the looks of this little guy? Think he looks cute and harmless? Think again. This bird is psycho.

Well, maybe not the actual fellow in the photo (which isn't mine - it comes from here). But one of his relatives, who lives in our neck of the woods, spent the day dive-bombing our house, bashing into windows, going from deck to bedroom window to living room window, all around the house, doing his very best to somehow make it through one of those pieces of glass.

It started about 6:30 this morning. Petunia started to make her bird hunting noises as she prowled the window ledges in the living room where I was eating my breakfast, then I began to get glimpses of brightly coloured flashes in my peripheral vision, and then the first thump on the window got me out of my chair to have a look.

I'd never seen a bird like this before, and its colouring made me think it must be a finch or some sort of exotic bird. We're used to mostly plain-Jane brown birds around here - anything this brightly coloured must come from a pet store, I thought. But when I did a quick Internet search I discovered it is a Western Tanager. Huh. Who knew.

But back to the siege. This determined little bird flew around the house all day, from window to window, hovering and flapping and thumping into the glass. Why?

I thought maybe it was trying to fight its own reflection in the window, thinking it was seeing a rival. But that didn't make sense with the sun direction, and in any case most of the windows were shaded.

Until I discovered it was a normally occurring bird species, I thought it might be a household pet that had escaped and was trying to get back home, any home.

Maybe it just likes our taste in home furnishings. In any case, we're waiting with some anticipation for the morning, to see if it comes back.

Here are two interesting tidbits about Western Tanagers I found out today. (1) The red colour on their heads is not built-in. It's a result of the insects they eat. And (2) if you are stocking a bird feeder in hopes of attracting a Western Tanager, they respond well to cut fruit, nectar and baked goods.

Baked goods.

Does that mean freshly baked croissants, or would day-olds do?

1 comment:

Paula said...

Ah. So all he really wanted was your breakfast!

I've only seen a Western Tanager once before (and I was gratified that my guess was right) when I was a kid- he was sitting in the apricot tree next to the sliding glass door, and my bird-watching older sister said, "Oh look! A Western Tanager!"

When you are used to plain brown wrens and drab mocking birds, a Western Tanager is spectacular. I didn't know about the red being from insect eating. Otherwise, they'd look like goldfinches.

Thanks for sharing!

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