Attack of the Killer Cardinal
Ah, spring. Warmer weather, budding trees and flowers, and chirping birds greet us every morning. It’s peaceful and serene with new life abounding all around us. Well, almost.
One bird greets us with a tap, tap, tap on our windows at 7 every morning. We found the gesture cute the first couple of days. But it quickly became annoying. We thought we had left the eerie experiences behind in New Mexico, along with the dirt, dust, and wind — but maybe not.
A day after settling into our new, green location near Dallas, Texas, a female cardinal perched on a branch on a mountain cedar tree directly behind our rig. We marveled at how close we could get to her, as she couldn’t see us behind our dark-tinted privacy glass. The male cardinal fluttered off, but Polly (as we named her) lingered, posing for pictures and alighting on our built-in trailer ladder that leads to the roof.
Then, she started flying at and pecking at our back window. Silly bird. Maybe she was saying, “Hi! May I come in? I want to be your friend.” Or maybe it was more like, “Hey! You’re crowding my turf.” Maybe she was upset that Mr. Cardinal left her.
Whatever the cause, this pecking behavior continued daily. You would think the bird’s beak would hurt, that she’d wise up, and that she would have given up after a day or two, but no.
We tried to outsmart Polly by hanging a couple of shiny kitchen utensils to encourage her not to stay. She thought they were cool. Polly likes shiny things.
We tried putting paper up in our back window to break up the reflection she must see. That didn’t deter her either.
She’s like the feisty, aggressive female cardinal in New York that bit the same Audubon scientist eight years in a row when he and his team performed their annual capture and banding. She doesn’t give up.
I’ve stared at the tree Polly usually launches from, peering to find her nest — but to no avail. She must feel threatened. It’s springtime in Texas. Mr. Cardinal has only returned rarely and briefly, from what we’ve seen. Maybe Polly’s upset at him and taking it out on us. Maybe she’s simply going after the bird she sees in the reflection of our windows.
Whatever the reason, Polly has morphed into Birdbrain in our view, and we’ll be happy when she no longer considers us a threat. That may not be until we move on to our next destination.
Desperate for relief from the daily tapping noise, we visited the local Dollar Tree store and purchased three pinwheels. We secured two to our back ladder and put the third in a tree on the south side of our rig. How did she respond? She perched on our ladder just beneath the two pinwheels.
Battle of the Wills
I lowered the highest pinwheel to kind of block the step Polly normally sits on, and that succeeded in keeping her away from our back window.
So, you can imagine how flabbergasted I felt the next morning when I heard her tapping on our window again shortly after 7. Just as I had hoped, our back-ladder boobytraps kept her away from the back window. But I kept hearing her tapping.
Polly decided to alight right next to the pinwheel in the tree on the south side of our trailer. Remember how I said she likes shiny things? She used that branch as her launching point to fly at the window behind our TV. And then she kept trying to land atop another window, hanging onto the ¼-inch glass for dear life — thankfully without causing any damage.
We may have finally found what she’s so angry about. It appears she had begun a nest right near our concrete pad. No one had occupied this campsite for a long time as the campground had been closed for restoration after flooding.
Whether that was truly her nest or not, Polly has a vendetta against us. Somehow we’ll have to coexist until we’re ready to leave this place for our next destination — because we’re not leaving on her account, and she’s clearly not leaving on ours.
4/1/2021 07:54:57 am
Wow! What a story! They sure are pretty birds though. You need some excitement in your lives. Sounds like she gave you some. Happy travels!!💕
4/1/2021 11:18:12 am
I love this so much 😂 I wish I could see Polly for all this, I think her and I would get along. We both enjoy pestering you 😂💜
4/1/2021 01:29:20 pm
Haha! You're funny.
4/1/2021 04:13:36 pm
Hilarious! Thanks for the laughs out loud, Lana! I haven’t been this entertained in awhile.
4/1/2021 06:37:39 pm
That's bit of a comical with the Cardinal, lol I like the way that sound. Well I have to admit, I really love that bird. Well you know what they say when a cardinal shows up, it's someone who's passed away is watching over you. That's what my brother used to say about my parents. I'm glad you're enjoying the weather.
4/1/2021 11:27:10 pm
Fun! Fun! Loved this story!
3/15/2023 09:43:19 am
Lana, enjoyed your story about ‘Polly’ the cardinal. While I love cardinals, I’m not necessarily a bird person. But your descriptive writing style kept me intrigued to the end. You’re an amazing and very talented writer and I thoroughly enjoy reading about (all) your adventures on the road! Take care and say hi to Bob for me!
3/15/2023 12:09:33 pm
Aw, thanks, Sheryl. It's great to hear from you. hope you and yours are doing well.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.