Hammer at the window

We often get reports of birds tapping at windows but almost always such incidents happen during the day. Not so in Nigel Gilligan’s Cumbrian garden where this Yellowhammer paid an unexpected night-time visit. As Nigel described:

A very strange incident occurred last night (8pm, 07/01/13). I heard a fairly soft beating noise at an upstairs window. Really difficult to assess what it was with the room's light reflecting off the window, but there was something of a small-bird size, dark, with wings flattish against the window, moving up and down in an irregular way. At the time I thought it might be a bat.

It made several passes, and then just disappeared. I went outside but could see nothing in the darkness. It was raining.

About 40 minutes later, I went out for a final check, and heard the noise again, at a downstairs window where a vague light was shining through from another room.  I saw it was a Yellowhammer, and took photos.

My wife used a butterfly net to catch it whilst I held the torch.  It was placed in a hedge, but it wasn't there at first light in the morning.

I have never come across this sort of behaviour from any bird. It was behaving as if it wanted to get in, not attack a rival.

We are not sure why the Yellowhammer was acting in this way. It is likely to have been disturbed from its roost but this, in itself, perhaps does not explain the behaviour that Nigel and his wife observed. We’d be interested if anyone else has had a night-time visit of this kind from a day-flying bird? gbw [at] bto.org

Related content