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When I was about five years old, someone gave me a portable record player.  That’s how we listened to music in the Dark Ages, before cassette tapes, 8-track tapes, and CDs ever existed.  The picture below is not the exact phonograph that I had, but it was similar.

I was always an early riser.  I still am but I’m just not as happy about the fact that I now have to get up early.  While my parents were still sleeping on the weekend, around 6:00 AM, I would sneak into their room with my new, portable record player, and play this special song.  With the volume up as loud as it would go, which fortunately for them, was not too loud.  Click here to listen to Doris Day’s version of the song, in case you are not familiar with the tune, as I would not be if someone had not given me that 45 record way back when.  It’s perky, to say the least.  And these are some of the words:

When the red, red robin comes bob, bob, bobbin’ along, along

There’ll be no more sobbin’ when he starts throbbin’ his old sweet song

Wake up, wake up you sleepy head

Get up, get up, get out of bed

Cheer up, cheer up the sun is red

Live, love, laugh and be happy.

This may or may not be relevant to the story, but last year, a robin built a nest in the wisteria bush that is adjacent to our deck.  Therefore, I had to make the deck off-limits because I didn’t want anyone disturbing the mama robin.  If we opened the door, she would fly away and I was afraid the eggs would get cold, even though it was summer and 90°.  Chances were probably better that the eggs would have hard-boiled themselves.  My other fear was that she might just leave and never come back and then I would have had to hatch the eggs myself.

So we didn’t use our deck last year for the month of June while the eggs hatched and the babies flew away.

Fast forward to this year.

Two weeks ago on Saturday morning, I was awakened around 6:00 AM by a repetitive thumping sound.  I went downstairs to see what it was, and there was a robin on the back deck flying repetitively into the glass door which is next to the wisteria bush.  It would hit the door, sit on the deck chair for one or two seconds, and then do it again.  And again.  And again.  When it saw me, it flew away, but just to be safe, I closed the curtains, feeling certain that if the robin were to return, it would see the curtains and not hit the window intentionally.

Wrong again!  It was Saturday morning and I wanted to stay in bed until 6:00, or luxury of luxuries, 6:30 AM.  But it was not to be.  That blasted bird continued to bang on the deck door every five seconds for nearly two hours.  I chased it away several times but it just kept returning.  This happened every morning for a week.  The noise was disturbing, but the cleaning was even worse.

The chair where the bird was sitting is covered with bird droppings, and then there is this messy, mysterious, white film on the glass that the bird leaves behind.  I’m not sure I want to know what it is.  But when I clean it, it reappears the next day.

Finally, after about a week of the banging, it stopped.  What a relief for me, because of course, everyone else in our house sleeps right through the noise.  And what a relief for the bird.  After banging his head on the glass for a week – he must have had a colossal headache – he had finally had enough…or had he?

This week, he has moved to the front porch window.  More windows to wash every day.  I had never seen anything like this.  What was wrong with this angry bird?   Was he upset because we had trimmed the wisteria bush and his favorite nest-building branch was missing?

I finally Googled “birds repeatedly banging on windows” and it seems that the male robin sees his reflection and thinks it is another male, so he is attacking the reflection of himself.  Repeatedly.  Non-stop.  Apparently male robins are very territorial.

This is a photo of one of the robins in our yard, possibly the culprit.  If not, it’s one that looks just like this.

To stop this behavior, the world wide web recommends:

  1. Close shades or drapes.  (Did that.)
  2. Soap the windows.  (Maybe I should just stop cleaning them.)
  3. Tape newspaper to the outside of window.  (Really?)
  4. Use 1-inch tape or ribbons to make vertical stripes every 4 inches on outside of window.  (Jail?)
  5. Build a net frame over the window.  (Simply wearing earplugs to sleep or moving out of my house is starting to sound like an easier option.)
  6. Install blinds on the outside of windows.  (Who is going to clean those?)

The moral of the story is that if you awaken your parents with any version of the Red, Red, Robin, Bob, Bob, Bobbing Along song when you are young, your parents will somehow communicate your devilish behavior to the Leader of the Robins, who will in turn send his minions to wreak havoc on your peaceful slumber at some point in the future.  The future is now.

May the birds (les oiseaux) stay away from your windows today.