fight club

For the past four days now, a robin has been attacking my living room window. He sits on a branch in the pine tree two feet from the glass, puffs his chest up, zooms right at the window, hits it, and flies back to the branch, only to repeat this cycle approximately 4 seconds later.  His persistence is stunning. 

I told a friend about this, and he suggested the robin might be either fighting or trying to mate with his own reflection.  So I tried closing the curtain, turning on a light inside, and taping a piece of paper on the window.  But he didn't stop.  He starts at first light, and does not leave until dark.  I don't know when he eats.  He's really working overtime on this project.

On the first day, I was concerned that he was going to knock himself out and die, and that's when I tried all those tricks.  On the second day, I sat down to watch closely, and noticed that he wasn't hitting the window with his body, just his feet.  So I'm leaning toward the fighting hypothesis rather than the mating one, unless robins have something in their claws I don't know about. 

The day two thud wasn't quite as loud as day one, so the force of his impact had lessened.  And since he was still coming back for more within 4 seconds, I decided to just leave him alone.  Who am I to interfere with the free will of a determined avian warrior?  I started developing a grudging respect for his feisty determination. 

On the third morning, when he started again at 5:30 am, my daughter asked if we knew anyone with a BB gun.  I laughed, but started scanning my mental list of contacts. 

This morning, I had a revelation.  I sat there watching him during breakfast, and realized that he was teaching me something important about projection and aggression.  The more he felt threatened by that bird he thought was his enemy, the more aggressive his body language became.  And of course, the bird in the window immediately reciprocated.  And since neither one of them were backing down, an attack became inevitable.

Which made me wonder - where in my life could I also be perceiving aggression which is actually only a reflection of my own fear?  Hmmm.

So I thanked my messenger, and taped up a much bigger piece of paper on the window, trying to place it exactly where it would disrupt the reflection from his favorite perch.  He hit it one more time (habits die hard), then hopped around a bit looking for his enemy.  And not finding him, he unfluffed his chest, and flew away.  I haven't heard him since. 

oops, I spoke too soon!  just as I typed that sentence, I heard him again.  He found another branch with a view.  I'll tape up some more paper.  I spose one way or another, he'll eventually get tired of this or something will distract him.  Hey, does anyone know a pretty female robin seeking an alpha male for a mate?


Sherry said...

Although I also really enjoyed your post on minimizing defensiveness, I couldn't resist commenting on this one. It always amazes me how much we can learn stopping to watch nature. I hope your feathered friend deals with whatever issue may be facing him in this momement before you run out of paper. I just finished a post which discusses one way to stay out defensiveness, "Don't Take Anything Personally." I'd love your feedback, and let me know how the bird faired. Blessing, Sherry
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karen alonge said...

thanks sherry. he's still going at it. he seems to have adapted to the paper. I will remain open to any additional insight he may be delivering to me ...