Crazy bird

Oh, of all the madness in the world — and there does seem to be a plethora of it — I find myself compelled to share a bit more. But there’s a difference. I care not to waste more emotional energy on the chaotic state of our democracy nor on our loose-cannon president; I wish not to dwell another second on the butchery in the world masquerading as religious integrity. For a change, I wish to tell the story of another form of nuttiness, much maligned and so rarely given any press time, and that is the kind of craziness that first astonishes, then exasperates and finally, inevitably, amuses. This is the tale of a crazy bird.

The first thing we noticed was the odd, oily smudge on the living room window. As if a painter had dabbed his brush in bacon grease and then swirled it on the glass in vaguely concentric circles. A little Windex, and it was cleaned off. Done. We thought. We were wrong. For virtually the next moment, there was kamikaze robin diving repeatedly into the window. Amazing to watch. He flew into the window from a nearby yew time and after time.

One sage naturalist opined that the bird was defending its nest — it is, after all springtime and it was completely within the realm of possibility that he had a nest in aforementioned yew. Seeing his own reflection in our window, he was fighting off a rival. OK. That was one idea. But, let’s face it, a mullioned old Nantucket window does not lend itself to reflection.

First, we cut back the yew branches that were brushing against the house. The idea was to make it harder for him to see his reflection, if he actually did. No joy. He just flew a little farther to bang in to the window. Not once but over and over. Like a robin on a suicide mission. Then, we wondered if what he saw and worried was a potential nest disturber was the carved wooden shorebird on the windowsill of said window. We removed the carving. That did it! Well, that did it for a day or so. And then the bang, bang, banging began again.

The robin and his busy disturbance began at first light, so the thumping is what woke us up. But we were wrong again to surmise that his knocking at our window was confined to the dawn hours. Later on, perhaps as he became more emboldened or perhaps more desperate or perhaps when his brain was even further scrambled by repeated self-concussing, he could show up and begin flying into the window at any old time. What we did not take into consideration was that our crazy robin might be taking pleasure in disturbing our peace.

That idea crossed my mind when he stopped flying into the living room window and shifted his deranged attention to our first-floor bedroom window — of course, beginning his assaults as morning light broke — on the opposite side of the house. Tap, tap, pause, taptaptap. More effective than any alarm clock.

This morning, we had the bright idea to cut a piece of aluminum foil into vertical strips and hang one from each of the two windows downstairs. Peace achieved! We thought we’d outfoxed the foxy bird. Until the taptaptapping started up again — this time, at the upstairs bedroom window.

We know our robin. He hops around the front and backyard, fat and happy and seemingly sane, if sanity is something that can every actually be applied to a bird. He does not look mad. He looks like a robin going about his robin-like activities. But we clever humans with big brains are held curiously hostage by this nutty bird.

Must go. He’s at it again. Ramming his handsome head into the window. If only one of these times he’d knock some sense into himself!

— Belle Songer

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