March Madness?

March Madness?

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

Spring has evidently arrived. Yep, it’s March Madness, like in basketball and busted brackets. Except most of my madness is coming from a pesky cardinal who is constantly rapping on my house windows. The red birds are territorial so whenever they see their reflection in a window, they try to peck it to death.

So far, I have printed out a big, terrifying picture of a hawk and taped it to his favorite window (doesn’t work). We have hung long foil strips on strings (a joke). I have rapped back and closed blinds (doesn’t matter). I am trying to outsmart a bird! And it’s not working!

Whoever thinks birds are not smart because they have “bird brains” should stop by my place. I have a percussion orchestra section in session during all daylight hours. Now it is a pair of cardinals who love to tap away. Studies claim that cardinals have a territory of approximately seventeen miles and these birds will do everything they can to chase away possible interlopers from their space. That means pecking at any bird (or their reflection) until the intruder is gone. Silly bird, it’s you that you see!

What about those little brains? Shouldn’t we worry about concussions? We also have plenty of woodpeckers who love to peck at drywall or the flashing around fireplaces. Scientists say that when a woodpecker rams into a hard surface with its beak, the 1200-1400 G force of each peck can be twenty times greater than what would cause a concussion in humans. Ouch! Plus, woodpeckers can move their head at 15 miles per hour and 12,000 times a day!

Science is now using this information to help design better football helmets, neck collars and head gear for other sports. I was thinking just the opposite – that perhaps we should fashion tiny helmets for our feathered friends who seem determined to crack their skulls!

Like Edgar Alan Poe’s words, “While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping. As of someone gently rapping at my chamber door.” Well, this is no tapping at my chamber door, it is at windows in my house! And let’s not forget the rearview mirror on the driver’s side of my Subaru. It must be garaged immediately because the cardinal flutters up and down, back and forth, repeatedly chasing his reflection as his image fights back fiercely.

I am thinking (hoping) that eventually the combatants will lose interest and realize they have won the battle with their intruders and just go back to building a nest. So far, they are completely obsessed with their own reflections.

My neighbor suggests wrapping their “favorite” windows with black plastic (depressing). My friend says to just ignore the pesky birds and soon they will stop. Well, it has been two weeks, but I will remain hopeful that they will just fly away.

Yes, my pain-in-the-glass cardinals are beautiful, funny to watch, annoying to listen to, but are also the epitome of persistence. Still, it is late March, so I’ll be watching NCAA men’s basketball. Because a bracket is better than a racket. No madness required.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or at

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