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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • A Little Salt: And then it became personal

  • When a wacky robin's behavior went from cute, to personal.
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  • A couple of weeks ago I shared a tale about the love-sick robin that appeared to be attempting to “woo” my Buick Century when it is parked behind my house.
    It was humorous sight at first, watching the bird perch on the exterior mirrors and occasionally peck at its own reflection in the windshield. I couldn’t remember ever seeing such behavior from a robin, or any other bird, at my house before.
    My attitude initially was, “Oh well, birds will be birds.” Let it do its thing and it will eventually become frustrated and move on, or so I thought. Of course, I was wrong. Now two weeks later and the robin is still around.
    The funny aspect of the robin’s strange behavior evaporated after I walked around to the driver’s side of the Buick one day and saw a thick coating of robin poo beneath the mirror on which it most likes to sit.
    I initially hosed off the car and went on about my business, which took care of the symptom, but not the problem.
    A few days later I returned from work one day to find that my 16-year-old daughter, Anna, had been motivated to go out and give the Buick a thorough washing and had it looking better than it had in months.
    However, a day or so after my daughter had invested a chunk of her afternoon washing the car, bird “stains” reappeared. And that’s when it became personal.
    I started keeping an eye out for the robin. Whenever I’d see it land on the car, I’d pop out the back door and “encourage” it to move along. And while the bird would depart, it wouldn’t stay gone for long.
    I decided to move the bird’s roosting spot. After washing off robin refuse AGAIN I decided to park the vehicle along the side of the house, instead of behind the house, in the hope that the robin would lose interest.
    It seemed to help, at least for a time. I noticed that the robin started visiting a dark-colored SUV that was parked on the other side of our back fence. When the SUV was gone one day, the robin’s attention shifted to a dark-colored Honda that parks on the other side of the alley from my house.
    While I at least temporarily broke the robin’s habit, I couldn’t break Anna’s habit of parking behind the house. As you might imagine, it wasn’t long before the robin was again perching on the Buick’s mirror.
    I decided to do a little Web research to learn why the feathered fiend was so attracted to my car.
    Page 2 of 2 - I quickly discovered its behavior wasn’t prompted by “love,” but by its instinct to defend its territory. Apparently it perceives its reflection as a rival intent on claiming its part of the “hood,” and I don’t mean car hood.
    In addition to cars, such bird behavior is often focused on the windows and doors of buildings in which a robin sees its reflection.
    Solutions? One site recommended using a pellet gun. Rest assured, while the bird has “ruffled my feathers,” I won’t be taking up arms, especially after recently seeing police pay a visit to a neighbor’s home who had been using a similar tactic to pick off pigeons. And besides, knowing how good my aim is, or more specifically isn’t, I’d likely just wind up hitting something without feathers.
    Other options include the use of a rubber snake, a replica of an owl, coyote or fox, soaping windows, or putting a cover on the car. I also saw suggested using old socks to cover the car’s mirrors so the orange-crested poop machine won’t see its reflection.
    I certainly have plenty of old socks. And besides, if the sock doesn’t drive the robin off, maybe its smell will.    
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