May 6, 2009

The Wonders of Nature

And the thing I'm wondering right now, is if this bird will ever stop bashing against the windows of my house.

He is a California Towhee, and I know it's a he, as he is obsessed with trying to run off his arch-rival, his own reflection. Really, what female would engage in such activity? This isn't a gentle tap-tap at the window, it is a jarring thump-thump assault on the glass that begins with first light and continues as long as there is sufficient daylight to produce a visible reflection. I find this somewhat startling, especially when trying to steal a nap, or quietly work on a lace pattern, or sleep in past what ever time the sun starts to light the sky. When he isn't battling his image in the glass, he's after the interloper that lives in the car side mirror, the shiny rear bumper of the truck, or the empty flower pot in the backyard. His mate is usually nearby, quietly ignoring his behavior and pecking at things on the ground, until finally she looks over at him as if to say, "what an idiot" and she flies away. At which point he leaves off to follow her.

We've lived in this house for almost 10 years, and last year the glass attacks started, but only occured over a short period of time. Perhaps, I thought, this is just a seasonal thing, and once the pair of Towhee's have nestlings to feed, he'll be too busy to enforce his territory. Depair is setting in, most of the birds around here start nesting in late winter to early spring, he shows no sign of letting up. There is a small hope, I haven't seen his mate nearby lately, perhaps she is on the nest even now and soon there will be gaping beaks to fill.

There is a silver lining; in searching for a link about California Towhees to use in this post I found the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web site, which has great information, pictures and even audio of bird songs. I love knowing about the birds that visit my yard and live in the surrounding area and now I have a new resource.

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