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It's a rainy late July morning and she's back.  That crazy female cardinal is back again, rapping at my window for the third day in a row.  I first noticed her on July 20 while working at my computer.  Her short whistles gave her location away early in the encounter, but I was unprepared for her actions.  She flew at the windowpane several times as if protecting her nest from an imaginary danger, but there is no nest in the lilac growing beside the house near the window.  She returns several times, tweeting and landing on the wooden muntin bars on the window with a precarious foothold.  She stays a few seconds then flies away. 

Could it be the same bird that established her nest two years ago deep in the branches of that bush?  I hadn't noticed the nest until after the eggs hatched and the babies began noisily presenting their oversize beaks to their parent for the morsels of food she bore to them.  I watched as day by day they grew and soon filled the nest to overflowing.  Next thing I knew, they had fledged never to return.  Now another question comes to mind.  Might this bird be one of those babies born in that nest returning to her birthplace? 

She flies away, into the pouring rain and returns repeatedly flapping her wings, mounting the window and then leaving after a few seconds. 

The event reminds me of a neighboring farmer, the late Charles Eckdert, Sr., who took his after lunch break in a rocking chair beside a picture window in his kitchen.  He often told about a male cardinal that visited his window behaving much like the bird described above.  At the time, I passed it off as a territorial defense effort on the part of the bird thinking that it was typical male behavior. 

A few years ago, a brilliant red male adopted the pile of firewood on my back porch as a landing spot.  I remember he attacked the window in the back door as if to protect his territory, or perhaps he wanted to come into the house!  I have also heard other reports about male cardinals acting in similar ways, but this is the first female I know of to do this. 

Could this East Palmyra, NY cardinal have an over abundant amount of testosterone coursing through her body?  Is it typical behavior of the species as a whole? Or, rather, is she a he-a frustrated young male who has not come to his full red color and hasn't yet figured out what to do with his hormones and energy?  Regardless of the reality, one must wonder if this bird isn't just plain crazy!


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