Northern Parula – click to enlarge

Around the Lowcountry many people are familiar with juvenile male cardinals banging into their windows.   This appears to be a territorial behavior.   They see their reflection in the window and are attacking the “other” bird.


Recently we have seen three other types of birds exhibiting this behavior.   Outside the office window a striking, small, blue yellow and white bird was banging into the window and then retreating to a branch a few feet away.   The bird did this repeatedly for an hour or more at a time.   I wasn’t sure what type of bird it was so I took a few pictures (few dozen) and was lucky enough to come up with this shot.   Our experts, Sally and Lori, quickly identified it as a Northern Parula which also has a distinctive call.


Two other fellows (why do we assume the crazy ones are always male?) were regulars at the Schoolhouse Museum.   They were banging against the back window a few weeks ago but seem to have quit for now.   Immediately below is a great crested flycatcher.    Our iPhone picture on the left does not do it justice especially the subtle yellow breast coloring, striped wings when spread and great hovering skills just before the attack.   Interestingly what appeared to be a the bird’s mate sat on a branch a short distance away watching this head banging (or cause of the head banging?).  The picture on the right below (from the Fairfax VA, school website) shows the flycatcher with wings spread and a recently caught dragon fly.

Great Crested Flycatcher – click to enlarge



Brown Thrasher – click to enlarge

On the right is a brown thrasher. True to his name, he liked to “thrash” against the window also.   But he didn’t spend as much time actually attacking the window. He would rush in then sit for a few minutes eyeballing the barrier and seemingly even looking in, then fly off and come back many minutes later to try again.


For more information on each of these birds visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology: