Friday, March 11, 2011

Banging the Head Against a Glass Wall

No, I am not talking about the glass ceiling for women executives although I know that is a problem for many women. I am talking about a small bird that is driving me nuts. (Actually it is medium size—neither small nor large for a bird.) Starting last Sunday morning, we had a bird fly to our top windows in the living room where a sill exists that separates the bottom windows from the top four (two large in the middle and two small on the sides). Here the living room makes a slight triangle looking out to our lake.

For the more than two hours after we woke up Sunday until we left the house, this bird was knocking on one or the other of the two larger windows. He or she might fly away for a few minutes, but then he or she would return to sit on the sill and bang again many times before taking a break. It was very upsetting and puzzling as to why any bird would do such a thing. I can’t see much more than its head peeking over the sill and knocking away, and I do not know what kind of bird this is. We have had birds walk on that window sill before looking in on us with curiosity, and I always liked that and might often have a one-sided conversation with the bird. We have beautiful woodpeckers at our feeders often, but we have never before had a glass pecker.

Was the bird hungry? Obviously the bird was not getting anything to eat by banging its bill against glass. Besides, the bird feeder on the deck below offered a good breakfast without any need for knocking. Gerald suggested maybe the bird was looking for a nesting place—but nothing that high up in our living room could possibly look like anything offering shelter for a nest.

I was very sympathetic to the bird, and I was afraid it would eventually knock itself out. The first thing I did when we came from church was to check the deck. No bird. As Gerald pointed out, the ones in the past (only a couple in last l0 years) who fell dead were flying and ran into the glass door or window accidentally at high speed. This bird was quite consciously and deliberately choosing to return again and again and knock on the window with its beak. Of course, we had to comment on the definition of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and being surprised with the same result. I was just glad the knocking was over and the bird did not show up during our lunch.

But the knocking is not over. (I call its noise “knocking” because it is loud and can be heard two rooms off in the kitchen. Knock. Knock. Knock.) Every day this week for a couple of hours in the morning this persistent creature starts our day and its day with this knocking for a couple of hours. Since I am often a late riser, I only hear the last efforts while Gerald hears the early knocking. It was a day or two before I even realized what was happening.
That day Gerald had planned to be away, and I was up early. I thought I would take advantage of no lunch to prepare and sit in our living room and try to catch up on the huge collection of magazines I wanted to read and pass on to a magazine-loving friend. Just sitting in the living room relaxing is a treat I don’t often indulge in—. I was looking forward to this. Then our too-friendly bird flew back just as I sat down. With the constant knocking, I can’t claim too much relaxation happened. Now on the sixth day, I am no longer sympathetic to this bird. I want to yell at it and ask it what kind of a bird brain it is.

I am wondering how long the bird is going to keep knocking. Does it want inside? Does it like the noise it creates? Does it have some kind of pain that the rhythmic pecking distracts from? Does it think it might win a mate by being a drummer? Or is it an insane bird that does not have a mental health center to help it?

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