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Fri, Oct. 18

Bluhm: Annoying red birds don’t seem to give up
Around the Bluhmin' Town

Judy Bluhm, Courier Columnist

Judy Bluhm, Courier Columnist

Rap, tap, tap.. My cardinals are going a bit crazy, constantly rapping on my house windows. The red birds are territorial so whenever they see their reflection in a window, they try to peck it to death. So far, I have printed out a big, terrifying picture of a hawk and taped it to their favorite window (doesn’t work). We have hung long foil strips on strings (a joke). I have rapped back at them (they don’t care) and closed blinds (doesn’t matter). I am trying to outsmart them! And it’s not working!

Whoever thinks birds are not smart because they have “bird brains” should stop by my place. I have a percussion orchestra section in session during all daylight hours. These birds love to tap away. A few studies claim that cardinals have a territory of approximately seventeen miles and both male and female birds will do everything they can to chase away possible interlopers from their space. That means pecking at any bird (or their reflection) until the intruder is gone. Silly bird, it’s you that you see!

What about those little brains? Shouldn’t we worry about concussions? We also have plenty of woodpeckers who love to peck at wood or the flashing around our fireplace.

Scientists say that when a woodpecker rams into a hard surface with its beak, the 1200-1400 G force of each peck can be twenty times greater than what would cause a concussion in humans. Ouch! Plus, woodpeckers can move their head at 15 miles per hour and 12,000 times a day!

Science is now using this information to help design better football helmets, neck collars and head gear for other sports. I was thinking just the opposite – that perhaps we should fashion tiny helmets for my cardinals who seem determined to crush their skulls!

Like Edgar Alan Poe’s words, “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping. As of someone gently rapping at my chamber door.” Well, this is no tapping at my chamber door, it is at every window in my house! And let’s not forget the rearview mirror on the driver’s side of my husband, Doug’s truck. Oh yea, the cardinal flutters up and down, back and forth, repeatedly chasing his reflection as his image fights back fiercely.

I am thinking (hoping) that eventually the combatants will lose interest and realize they have won the battle with their intruders and just go back to building a nest. So far, they are completely obsessed with their own reflections.

My neighbor suggests wrapping all my windows with black plastic (never). My friend says to just ignore the pesky birds and soon they will stop. Well, it has been two weeks , , , ,but since I love my birds I will remain hopeful that soon they will fly away to other adventures.

Yes, my pain-in-the-glass cardinals are beautiful, funny to watch, annoying to listen to, but are the epitome of determination and persistence. A quality I emulate . . . rap, tap, tap.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a story or a comment? Email Judy at

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