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There's a strange thing going on since a few days ago in the office. Suddenly we recognized a blue tit flying like crazy up and down on our window. It looks quite average, a beautiful bird, not like somehow sick or something. Still, the first day we thought: "Okay, this poor thing sure is ill." We didn't bother anymore since we thought it's going to die soon.

The next day however, the blue tit flew a few charges again. Always flying to the window just to go up and down on it then. This lasts for about 5 minutes before the bird moves away again.

The behavior is shown frequently for about the last 5 days. Approximately the tit comes every 5 hours trying to storm our window. This doesn't mean, that it's always exactly 5 hours. Sometimes it's only there once per office-day and sometimes it comes back after an hour.

I've never seen something like this. What's wrong with it? What causes this behavior?

  • Relevant? newyorker.com/magazine/2007/01/29/the-birds-3 – MikeTheLiar Feb 24 '17 at 15:32
  • Can you tell by the markings if it's the same bird? If there are more than one, the pattern of behavior may be different than if it's a lone bird. @Chris H has provided you with some excellent scientific information, which I haven't had a chance to read thoroughly, so the answer's probably in there somewhere. I'm just curious in case that's a factor. Thanks! – Sue Feb 24 '17 at 17:33
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    Chris H's second bullet is 100% the correct answer. If you want to follow up with a "how to prevent" there are a number of choices. Some options involve trying to reduce the reflective properties of the window, like static cling decals, strips of paper, or special sprays. Other options involve putting something else in view which is more important to the bird than its aggressive rival, i.e. a rubber snake or a plastic hawk or owl. I hope you can convince your workplace to do one of these, to save this little guy from himself. – cobaltduck Feb 24 '17 at 18:14
  • We use Window Alert, which is a decal affixed to the outside of the window, and which strongly reflects UV. Pasting a picture of a raptor on the window might do as well. – ab2 Feb 24 '17 at 19:19
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Two possibilities:

  • There's something it thinks is food on the inside. Note that blue tits are quite clever at accessing food, to the extent of opening foil-topped milk-bottles (though the linked article illustrates this with a photo of a great tit!)

  • At this time of year, more likely, it's not trying to get in, but sees its reflection as a rival or (as the sexes look alike in blue tits) a potential mate. Winter tit flocks break up in spring and pairs form. This is common is in some species - (European) robin for example, and has been seen in blue tits as well. The time of day at which this occurs may be affected by light levels, which change the brightness of the reflection, also by indoor lighting. You may be able to prove it by placing a mirror in a similar area.

Sources for the second phenomenon:

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    Thanks! I really like the second guess. Could be possible. Especially since the tit seems to prefer spots where the inner is dark (for example a thick bush standing in front of the window). – OddDeer Feb 24 '17 at 8:40
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    I was thinking 2 as well. It's likely trying to fight it's reflection – Liam Feb 24 '17 at 8:58
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    @Liam now with sources to back that up. I agree that it's much more likely but I didn't want to assume that and then find out the the OP has bird feeders at the office and stores the seed on the windowsill, or something similar. – Chris H Feb 24 '17 at 9:06
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    Maybe it knows it's its own reflection, but is using it to practice its fight moves. :-) – Dronz Mar 11 '17 at 21:43

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