Wednesday, October 28, 2015

CRAZY BIRD

In our lovely back yard in Laguna Beach, we have on a pedestal one of those large, shiny, decorative glass balls.  It is silver, about 12 inches in diameter, and it sits between a pink rose and a large pot planted with tall grasses.  Lately, it has attracted the attention of a small bird--I'm not good with bird names, but I'm pretty sure it's not a sparrow--which has taken to fluttering up the steeply sloping sides until it reaches the top, where it flutters a while longer before tumbling back down the sides.

This is the best my iPhone camera could do. You can just about make him out, perched on top of the ball, dead center...
It's a struggle worthy of Sisyphus, and one that this little creature has been repeating constantly, obsessively, and for no apparent reason.  We were surprised, at first, when the attempt lasted ten, then twenty minutes.  Yesterday it lasted, literally, all day.  Finally, at five in the afternoon, concerned that the bird must by now be reaching a state of total exhaustion, I felt obliged to take the ball away and hide it.  Not sure what effect that might have had on the bird's psyche.

Was it love?  Was the bird so attached to this glittering object that he could not bear to leave it?  Could it be that, like Narcissus, he had fallen fatally in love with his own image?  Or was it, at Ellie theorizes, that he mistook the illusion of the ball's reflection for the sky itself?  I have no explanation for this strange, obsessive behavior, but I hope at least to have helped my feathered friend find release from what might surely otherwise have killed him.

3 comments:

robin andrea said...

It's hard to tell what kind of bird that is, but it could be one in the warbler family. Not sure why a bird would display this kind of behavior. Some birds do go a little crazy with mirror images. I remember seeing a video like this one a few years ago. It's hard to explain why they do this, although if it were mating season I would think it had something to do with trying to chase off competitive males. I'm glad you moved the globe. Give that poor bird a chance to find a new path.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_Z36PYZaFI

Faith said...

It could also be territorial. The bird may think the reflection is a rival, come to steal its territory/mate, and it's trying to get this oddly-shaped other bird to go away. We have that problem with robins in the spring, fighting their reflection in our picture windows.

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks, both, for these insights. We've noticed the bird still hanging around in that corner of the garden, as though deprived of its addiction. Weird...