A Very Stupid Bird

Bird on glass

MPEG: 4 bangs in 12 seconds

MPEG: 17 bangs in 64 seconds

Perhaps he's nearsighted

Have you ever had a bird try to fly into your house through an open window, only to discover by banging into the glass that the window is actually closed?

Some time in March, I heard the noise of a bird running into my window. Over the next few days I heard and saw quite a few birds hitting various windows around my house.

"What a lot of stupid birds there are this year," I thought to myself. Over the next few weeks, I realized that there was not a multitude of stupid birds, but only one bird with the combined stupidity that I had assigned to dozens.

At first, our bird was not very choosy about which window he banged into, dirtying up at least ten different windows in four different rooms. As time went on, he narrowed his choice down to just a few windows, and finally settled on one particular window as his favorite head-banging target.

At his peak of frantic activity, he would bang into the same window at an interval as short as about three seconds for periods of up to a couple of minutes. Given the marks on the windows from his collisions, and extrapolating from the times I have heard his attacks, I estimate that this bird has run into my windows at least three thousand times.

It's now May, and he's still at it. He has admittedly slowed down a bit. Perhaps all those hard knocks have finally started to get to him.

The culprit
Wing marks

MPEG: Getting desparate

How high could B.F. Skinner have counted with this bird?

May 14, 2001