Back in May of 2016 I told y’all the story a female Cardinal that comes to our home in late January and proceeds to fly into our den window, beating her little bird head against the window pane everyday, all day long through about mid-March. Well she is back for year five.
I don’t know much about the lifespan of a Cardinal so a quick Google search reveled that “On average, northern cardinals live for 3 years in the wild although several individuals have had life spans of 13 to 15 years.” The 13 to 15 years was not welcomed news. I have been asked by many people “how do you know it is the same Cardinal”? My typical response is to just let the question simmer and stew for a moment which brings most people to the same conclusion, yea that would be weird that it would be a different bird each year.
Part of me, not the part that finds the constant thump against the window every 10 to 15 minutes irritating as hell, is flattered that she has chosen our home each year to fling her little bird self against the glass. She has a mate, who will occasionally sit atop the bird feeder and watch her self-flagellation. I also know she nest near by because she visits our feeders all Summer long. She is pretty easy to pick out, she is the one with the missing feathers on her head.
We have tried several remedies, covering the windows with towels, arranging sticky notes everywhere and those distractions work, for a little while. But sure enough, just like the postman neither sleet nor rain will keep her from the swift completion of her appointed head banging.
The most logical reason I have heard as to why she does this is because she sees her reflection in the window as another bird in her territory and she is protecting it. But, the issue with this theory is that it is typically the male bird that exhibits this behavior, not the female. So what this tells me is I have an Alpha female and a Beta male Cardinal couple, a feminist, a women’s libber, a henpecked husband married to a bad-ass bird wife. Hmm, sounds a little like my……..never mind.
There is a lot of weird Psychic stuff that surrounds Cardinals as well, for instance the word cardinal comes for the Latin word cardo, which means hinge or axis so it is thought that Cardinals are a hinge on the doorway between our Earthly world and the Spirit world, carrying messages back and forth. At this point, listening to this little lady slam against our window all day long I think the more appropriate word is unhinged to describe her existence and behavior.
In a couple of weeks she will quit, start making a nest, lay some eggs and then she will be to busy to head bang our window. I wonder how I will feel if she doesn’t come back next year? I wonder if I will even notice or remember? Our world is not a friendly place for birds, between cats, loss of habitat and the chemicals we spray in our yards to kill bugs and crabgrass I would imagine it can be tough to live one or two years let alone five.
As I sit here and write this she is banging away. Maybe what she is doing is reminding me that despite my thumbs and occasional clever thought she is just as important as I am. That she has just as much right to occupy this space as I do. At this juncture I believe her. She has more than made her point, believe me, she has made her point.