Posted: Monday 10 March 2014
by James Alexander-Sinclair

Let me introduce you to Benjie. Or, to give him his full title, Benjie Bottom Feeder. I know that may not sound like a very polite name.

Let me introduce you to Benjie. Or, to give him his full title, Benjie Bottom Feeder. I know that may not sound like a very polite name, but it's very accurate. He spends much of his time hopping around underneath the goldfinch feeder, hoovering up fallen seeds and anything else which comes his way. He intersperses this manic housework with a rather charming song.

Benjie is, as the twitchers among you will have recognised, a dunnock. He isn't the showiest of chaps (he mightn't even be a chap - I'm too polite to ask), but if you're a small bottom-feeding bird then inconspicuousness is a sensible precaution. The name 'dunnock' comes from the ancient British word 'dunnakos', which basically means 'little brown one.'

Anyway, we're rather taken by him: or at least we were until he started flinging himself at the kitchen window. This isn't unusual, I've discovered, and he is either trying to (a) attack his reflection as he regards it as an intruder or (b) trying to charm his reflection into being his mate.

Whichever notion he's got into his head, it's not a terribly clever idea and we're a bit concerned that he's going to knock himself senseless in a fit of fury (or lust, depending on how it goes). We've tried putting chairs in front of the window, but he's quite persistent.

Obviously the trick is to make the widow less reflective, which is quite difficult without blocking them off, so we're going to try putting cut-outs of larger birds inside the windows to see if that helps.

Any other suggestions?

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Talkback: Dunnocks
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Mrs G 10/03/2014 at 14:52

I tried clingfilm on the outside of the window but the blue tit just pulled it off!

ploccy 12/03/2014 at 08:58

I have a similar experience with a robin. When opening the window he landed on my hand and now I feed him on demand! Found out though he also does the same to next door neighbours. He's very well fed.

LouatLarches 19/03/2014 at 06:37

Your windows are clearly too clean....... If you were more slovenly (like me) you may not have this issue. What about a couple of thin strips of tape to flutter in front of said window? Might put him/her off.

Marinelilium 23/03/2014 at 09:56

Ooh dear, how can I put this delicately? Dunnocks have rather peculiar mating habits! They indulge in polyandry (two boys one girl) or sometimes even the opposite! This means territorial brouhahas flare up. A reflection is enough to provoke a response. In addition (blushes) the female up-tails to 'present' to the male, who pecks at her until she is red and swollen, before mating. So persistent pecking at glass, or walloping into glass, are down to the birds' rather odd love life arrangements! Hey....but who are we to make judgements?

Gardenmaiden 23/03/2014 at 13:54

You could try cutting a large bird shape out of card and sticking it on the inside of your window. My inlaws kept having birds fly into the windows and this solved the problem.

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