Apr 16 2013

Tapping At My Chamber Door

Published by at 7:30 am under Bird Behavior,Songbirds

Robin fighting his reflection (photo by Charlie Hickey)

On April 8 Charlie Hickey and his wife Carole heard a tapping at their front door but no one was there.

When the sound persisted they discovered a robin was attacking his own reflection in the door's kickplate.

Convinced he was facing a rival, the robin would not give up. Here he tries to stare down that other bird.
Robin staring down his reflection (photo by Charlie Hickey)


And here he threatens him with the puff display.  Look at the expression on his face!

Robin threatening his own reflection (photo by Charlie Hickey)


Most birds don't understand mirrors but I can understand why this bird is fooled.  His reflection is so lifelike!

When Charlie posted these photos on his Flickr account he alluded to Edgar Allen Poe's Raven and wrote, "In spite of Carole opening the door and the trash pickup, [the robin] kept returning until Carole covered the kickplate with the door mat."

What a relief when the door mat went up!


(photos by Charlie Hickey)

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Tapping At My Chamber Door”

  1. Charlie Hickeyon 16 Apr 2013 at 10:55 am

    He (or one of his associates) was back again this morning. Either this one robin is getting around the neighborhood or there are a number of them attacking reflections. Many cars parked outside have white streaks down the side near the side view mirrors. There seem to be more robins in the area this year than usual and it seems that there are many more males than females.

    I have seen the reflection behavior with cardinals but never before with robins. I would be interested to hear if others have observed this behavior this year.


  2. Kate St. Johnon 16 Apr 2013 at 11:11 am

    I remember the year when a pair nested in the tree in front of our house. Mrs. Robin attacked all the car mirrors. Mr. Robin was puzzled by her obsession and would sit and watch her do it. Finally everyone put grocery bags on their mirrors and Mrs. finally laid eggs and settled down.

  3. CarrolltonOhon 16 Apr 2013 at 10:31 pm

    I thought there are more this year too…. They are after the neighbors car and trucks’ mirrors…have not bothered mine yet…
    Also, I don’t see as many Cardinals as usual…
    Still seeing Junco’s…
    Barn Swallows arrived the 14th…

  4. Michelle, Colorado Springs, COon 17 Apr 2013 at 9:43 pm

    I had a similar situation with a Northern Flicker on the top of my chimney several years ago. My husband had to climb up there and paint it. 🙂

  5. Mary Ellenon 22 Apr 2013 at 3:21 pm

    We noticed a robin making marks on our large living room window and leaving deposits along the window sill. My husband taped a rat-like dog toy to the window sill and it seemed to keep him away. Then he(or she) started on the other windows. Maybe she is nesting near our house? Not sure what our neighbors will think if we have plastic animal of prey taped to all the window sills.

  6. Kate St. Johnon 22 Apr 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Mary Ellen, the rat toy is an awesome solution. Obviously it works, but your robin is very persistent — even obsessive. Right now he’s in hormonal overdrive but he’ll settle down soon to raise a family. Meanwhile anything on the outside of the window that breaks up the reflection will do the trick. That, or a boatload of rat effigies. 😉

  7. Anne Marieon 05 Apr 2014 at 10:22 am

    Thanks Kate! I have had a robin at every 1st floor window this morning… poop everywhere. I somehow remembered you blogged about this… and here it is! I put paper on the windows – 1.5 hrs of tapping was driving me insane! 🙂

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