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Cirl Bunting odd behaviour

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Old Thursday 23rd May 2019, 18:14   #1
flynnboy
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Cirl Bunting odd behaviour

Hi,

I am not a regular bird watcher, although I do of course enjoy birds on a normal Human level. However, we have a very peculiar and interesting observation related to a male Cirl Bunting that has taken to visiting us on a daily basis and so frequently he seems to be here almost most of the day...... ? This has been going on for around 2 weeks now.

Just outside of our living room window we have a sitting area with picnic table and an old wood burner we use as a Fire Pit, this is fitted with a 2 metre high shiny stainless steel flue. It is all set against a stone wall and on the top of the wall adjacent to the stainless steel flue is a shiny plastic flower pot.

Now, the Bunting appeared right from the start showing an interest in his reflection, first of all in the shiny green plastic flower pot, he would go around and around tireleasly pecking at his reflection..... which was rather amusing.... but then he discovered the shiny stainless steel flue next to the pot, which has a lever for controlling the airflow to the flue which is a perfect 'perch' for him. And so, his behaviour developed in a very odd way, I say he has Avian OCD !

He arrives almost every 10 minutes or so, spends a few turns pecking at his reflection in the green shiny pot, he will then hop on to his perch attached to the stainless steel flue, wonder at his reflection, peck at it for a while before then flying to the top of the flue pecking at his reflection on the way up, he will then do a few turns around the rim of the flue, dive down to the wall, hop on to the arm (perch) attached to the flue, wonder at his reflection, peck at it for a while before then flying to the top of the flue pecking at his reflection on the way up, he will then do a few turns around the rim of the flue, dive down to the wall, hop ln to the arm (perch) attached to the flue, wonder at his reflection, peck at it for a while before then flying to the top of the flue pecking at his reflection on the way up, he will then do a few turns around the rim of the flue, dive down to the wall, hop ln to the arm (perch) attached to the flue...... and so it goes on !? He does this repeatedly the whole day long.......

At one point we decided to desuade him so that he would go in to the wild and procreate so we tied a black T Shirt around the flue, and in consequence he disappeared. After 4 or 5 days we removed the T Shirt from the flue, no more than a day later he was back doing his old routine........

He arrives almost every 10 minutes or so, spends a few turns pecking at his reflection in the green shiny pot, he will then hop on to his perch attached to the stainless steel flue, wonder at his reflection, peck at it for a while before then flying to the top of the flue pecking at his reflection on the way up, he will then do a few turns around the rim of the flue, dive down to the wall, hop on to the arm (perch) attached to the flue, wonder at his reflection, peck at it for a while before then flying to the top of the flue pecking at his reflection on the way up, he will then do a few turns around the rim of the flue, dive down to the wall, hop ln to the arm (perch) attached to the flue, wonder at his reflection, peck at it for a while before then flying to the top of the flue pecking at his reflection on the way up, he will then do a few turns around the rim of the flue, dive down to the wall, hop ln to the arm (perch) attached to the flue...... and so it goes on !? He does this repeatedly the whole day long.......

This just never ends and goes on the whole day long.... does anyone have any idea what is going on ? I find this very odd behaviour, speaking as someone who knows nothing about birds !

Thanks for any input.
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Old Thursday 23rd May 2019, 18:30   #2
etudiant
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Think he sees the reflection as a very persistent rival.
There are similar behaviours noted here in the US by Northern Cardinals going crazy fighting their reflection in a patio window, but your example is unique in its persistence.

Separately, Cirl Buntings are not that common any more, there are many birders who would be happy to trade places with you for at least a day.... :)
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Old Thursday 23rd May 2019, 21:13   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by etudiant View Post
Separately, Cirl Buntings are not that common any more, there are many birders who would be happy to trade places with you for at least a day.... :)
They're common in most of France, it's just Britain where they have become rare
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Old Thursday 23rd May 2019, 21:57   #4
etudiant
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They're common in most of France, it's just Britain where they have become rare
Hope that you are right.
When birding the Camargue and the south of France a couple of years back, we had Ortolan Buntings but dipped on Cirl Buntings, so I thought Cirls were getting pretty scarce.
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