Saturday, April 28, 2018

Knock Knock...Who's There?

I kept hearing a tap tap tapping on the dining room window, but when I went to investigate, nothing was there. The tapping was intermittent, but persistent.  Just three or four taps every half hour or so throughout the morning, loud enough for me to hear from anywhere in the house, gone by the time I could get to the window. Nothing to see but stalwart hedge and brick wall.

I mentioned it to Moe after a few consecutive mornings of the same mystery.  He'd heard it but didn't seem appropriately curious to my way of thinking. I was on my own here. I hid in the next room when the tapping was due again, camera at the ready to peer around the door frame in an instant. I waited. Came the tap. I peeked. Question answered. A female robin  (pale orange breast) was sitting on the outside sill, knocking her beak against the pane. She flew away before I could get a photo.  Had she detected my movement, or would she have flown anyway?

This sequence has continued for about two weeks. We've surmised that she thinks she's protecting her nest from the competitor mama she sees in the glass. I went outside to see things from her perspective. The location of window, relative to morning sun, did indeed allow a perfect mirror-like reflection.  You can also see movement through the glass, explaining why I can't get close enough from inside for a quality photo without chasing her away.

This morning I dressed in black from neck to toe and pulled a chair to the window to wait. She came but flew the instant the camera moved, despite the black clothes.  Moe did get this one yesterday. Just held up his phone and snapped from his reading chair. Go figure.

Today's surprise was that she had a mouthful of nesting material every time she came to the sill, requiring a revised guess about her behavior. Is she only now building her nest, choosing to ignore the silent threat in the window? Eggs coming? Time running out?

Male robins help raise the young, but nest building is the work of only the females.  My outdoor check under the eaves revealed a few dried grassy bits trailing from the crook between the gutter's downspout and the house.  Not a nest yet, but a start. Welcome, Mrs. Robin. ~dkm

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