Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Birds and Windows
Name: kavya
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
We no longer want robins nesting under our deck, but one keeps landing on a log holder and keeps smashing its body against my glass door. Why does the bird do this and how can I get it to stop?


Replies:
Birds that fly against glass are responding to their own reflection as if it was a rival bird. About the only way to prevent it is to mask the glass in some way to break up the reflection.

J. Elliott


Without meeting your robin I will be prepared to lay a significant amount on the fact that your robin is a male, and he has a female friend out there somewhere. When he first landed on your log he saw what he thought was a rival male bird, and so he challenged it- by flying straight at it. He has not yet won the fight, but he will keep coming back to check if the rival is still there, and to challenging him again and again. The rival he can see is of course his reflection in the window. This something that many birds do.

To stop the behaviour there are a couple of things to try -
- move the log holder so that is does not reflect in the window.
- put something, like a cardboard box, in between the log holder and the window, to block the reflection.
- spray the window with window cleaner, the white frothy kind, and leave it on the window to spoil the reflection.
- paint the favored spot on the log holder with something which will deter the robin - strong chili sauce or horseradish may well work without doing any harm.
- locate the female, who will be in the process of making a nest. Assuming there are no eggs in it already, destroy the nest and put all of it in the bin where she can't get the pieces to rebuild. You may have to do this a couple of times before she gives up.

Good luck

Nigel Skelton


Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory