It’s spring: Crazy birds at the window; battling crabgrass

Share this:

My living room window is being attacked by a robin.  It flies at the window and crashes into it, flies away and comes back and does it again. This has been going on, all day, every day for several weeks.

The nasty thing is also leaving droppings plastered to the glass.  It appears that the bird is hitting the window with its head.  What is wrong with this robin and can I make it stop, short of killing it?

Ah, ain’t love grand?

Your male bird was out looking for love in all the wrong places until he saw his reflection in the window. He is under the impression that a rival male is also here, competing for “robinettes.” His only option is to battle the intruder until it leaves.

Your bird is not hitting the window with his head. If he was, you would have buried him long ago under a nice tree.

He is hitting the window with his legs, which he pulls up in front of himself to whack that other bird. The bird-blop thing is his editorial comment on the enemy.

Here are a few suggestions: Put light-colored paper on the inside of the window to block the reflection. Outside, use aluminum pie plates or shiny computer disks hung from strings.  This is something reflective and moving that blocks his flight path.

Or try some big balloons that you have drawn two eyes on with a marker. Those are called “scare-eye balloons” and you can make your own.

Mr. Crazy Bird will not be frightened by cardboard owls or pictures of cats. They don’t move. In Birdland, movement without sound is scary. If it is shiny, it’s even better.

Get creative and change your bird deterrent regularly.  You don’t want slam-dancing, belly-bumping robins to get used to your empty threats.

I want to put down that crabgrass preventing stuff that comes in a bag.  But when do I do it? And why does it not work very well?  I am also doing other lawn maintenance jobs around the same time so is any of that stuff making it not work?

Keep in mind that the bags for the crabgrass prevention products are printed to be used all around the country.  But even a geography nit-wit knows there are temperature and weather differences between New Mexico, Tennessee and Michigan.  Because spring weather is always so different, it would be impossible to just list a day or week to apply.

So you have two factors already: geographic location and spring weather weirdness. The best way to know when to apply is called “plant phenology.”

Essentially, you are timing your grass application to when a certain plant blooms or produces leaves. In this case, it is forsythia, that early spring-blooming shrub that has lots of bright yellow flowers.  This shrub is everywhere.

This is your timing: Apply your crabgrass prevention to when the forsythias in your neighborhood are blooming. It’s your neighborhood because plants in warm places like towns bloom before those in the country. If you want to fine-tune the application even more, do it when the flowers begin to fade on the forsythia. That means you have about two weeks until the crabgrass seeds germinate and begin to grow.

If the weather is hot, the forsythia could bloom for one or two days. If the weather is cool, that flowers could last several weeks. The closer to the time of crabgrass seed germination you apply, the less chance for your product to be washed away in a spring rainstorm. With water, the product dissolves and puts a thin film on the soil. It is important not to break that preventative film by raking or disturbing the layer. This product will keep all seeds from coming up so don’t overseed your lawn because it treats all seeds the same way.

Contact Gretchen Voyle, MSU Extension-Livingston County Horticulture Educator, at (517) 546-3950.

About Gretchen Voyle 51 Articles
Gretchen Voyle is the MSU Extension-Livingston County Horticulture Educator. She can be reached at (517) 546-3950.