Monday, June 17, 2013

Cardinals - Beautiful but Annoying

The thump against my window is driving me insane. Each morning it’s the same wake-up call.

Swoop...thump. Swoop...thump. Swoop...thump. Sometimes it goes on for hours.

The cat ignores him. Having discovered the futility of lying in wait to pounce against the glass, Tiki sits on the bed methodically licking her paws and wiping the sleep from her eyes. 
The cardinal’s majestic crest and vibrant red plumage are a striking contrast to the lush green of the hydrangea that climbs the side of the window. His eyes are two shiny black beads in the morning light. They are such a beautiful bird. Why do they have to be so annoying??

After several mornings of pillow pounding, I am getting increasingly cranky. It’s not just the mornings. The males (more than one?) tap their beaks against the glass and fly into the windows all day long. The steady rhythm of their irritating ritual is driving me nuts.

One day during lunch, a female cardinal attached herself to the screened patio door. Looking for her mate? He’s not in here, I told her. I regretted my harsh tone as she lifted off. Alone.

It’s my habit to sleep with the blinds open so I can awaken to the beauty of the white clustered flowers of the hydrangea pressed against the glass. The greens, purples, and yellows of the trees and shrubs. The beautiful red cardinal perched atop a bush singing at the top of his lungs between swoops and thuds. Aghhh!

Swoop...thump. Swoop...thump.

I know immediately the topic of this week’s blog. Lately I’ve considered posting pictures with my blogs and that thought has me leaping to my feet to get my camera. Positioned at the bedroom window, I wait.

Here he comes! In a flurry of red feathers, he applies the brakes just before contact with the window. My finger fumbles on the button. Click! I check the picture − delete it. The next one will be better. I wait.

The sound is coming from the living room. The weight of a bird hitting the window. I can’t believe it, I say out loud. The cat looks up indifferently. He’ll be back, I tell Tiki, don’t worry, he’ll come back. I wait.

I didn't think the bird would be deterred by my presence near the window. One morning − needing an extra hour of sleep − I stacked pillows the length of the window. That’ll scare him away, I thought. It made no difference. Sparkling window catchers don’t work either.

I wait − eye glued to view finder, finger poised on button − remembering the calming coo of the doves from their nest in the hydrangea before the cardinals took over the territory.

My husband enters the bedroom. You’ll never get a picture that way, he says. He offers another suggestion. No, I’ll just write my blog and forget the picture, I tell him.

I make a coffee, go to the living room, and fire up the laptop. No sign of the cardinal. After typing a few words, a movement outside the window catches my eye. The dove is sitting on the rail looking in at me. I watch as its head tilts from side to side. Puzzled that I’m giving up so easily? Disappointed? Maybe. It just wants to go back to its nest in the hydrangea.

I think of taking a picture of the dove. Lexus, on the floor next to my chair, gives a loud sigh and a little snort. The beak tapping and body thumping continues at the bedroom window.

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