Friday, April 15, 2016

Someone Fought Here

My sister, when she visited, noticed a male cardinal attacking his own reflection in a garage window and told me. I came out, saw him doing it (he lives with his family and loudly sings his territorial song in a nearby tree) and hollered at him, "Stop that! Do you want to leave your children without a father?!" Problem solved. Until today, a windy April day, when he left evidence that he's been at it again: a red feather left wedged in a garage windowpane so cracked, as it has been for years now, that I had taped it both inside and out to prevent its shattering while the roofers worked. It's not neatly taped, but it didn't break.

It hung together well enough for the cardinal to imagine, today, that he was again seeing a rival in its reflection, and he fought valiantly, leaving one of his feathers. I checked nearby and didn't find a little bright-red body, so I assume he was the victor. I've seen cardinals--killed instantly--ricochet as far as 12 feet from glass they've flown straight into.

The Sibley bird guide says windows are the #1 killer of birds, taking about 998 million lives a year. That's almost a billion, and twice the number of birds killed by feral cats.

Part of the difficulty was in taking this picture, because there are reflections everywhere, inside and out. I went outside a second time to try to compose a single picture that'd tell the whole story, but the feather had blown away.

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