We’re starting to get a few calls about birds attacking a whole host of shiny, reflective things: windows, door handles, cars, TV aerials, metal chimneys, to name a few. We are right at the beginning of the breeding season, and some birds are busy sorting out territories and then defending them from intruders with a vengeance! These defensive birds see their reflection as another bird coming into their territory and start attacking it. Birds can get tunnel vision, and this behaviour can become obsessive, as every time they go to this area, they see the same bird is back to invade! On the whole, birds don’t injure themselves, although the excitement during the fight can be a little messy and may need clearing up. However, larger birds such as Crows can attack windows with such velocity, that they can cause themselves some harm through the repeated drumming on the reflective surface, but they should recover from their minor injuries.
The key to changing this behaviour is to stop the bird from seeing its reflection. Closing curtains and blinds does not stop the bird from seeing its reflection in the glass, so any deterrents ideally need to be on the outside of the window. Putting cling film on the outside of the window can defuse the bird’s reflection, hanging old CDs or strips of foil can sometimes scare the birds away from the area. Some people use greenhouse shading or put newspaper over the windows as a temporary measure. Put bags or old towels over door handles and car wing mirrors. If the car is being attacked, a car cover is a quick and economical way of saving your car’s paintwork! It’s difficult to predict how long this behaviour will continue if you choose not to take any measures, but some birds can be particularly blinkered. I did talk to a lady who put her Christmas decorations up on the outside of the window being attacked, which worked at scaring the birds away although she did get some odd comments from her neighbours! I also spoke to a man who watched a Blue Tit fall asleep on the bonnet of his car, due to it being worn out from attacking its reflection in the windscreen – you couldn’t make it up!
Blackbird collecting nesting material - Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
We’re already getting some calls about birds that are already nesting and some already have chicks! It’s not too late to put a nest box up, so check out the range we sell on the link below. Don’t forget that any active nest is protected by law (Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981), so once a bird starts to build a nest, you need to leave it alone until the chicks have left naturally. Hopefully we’ll have a fantastic spring and summer and our bird life will have a successful breeding season.