Cardinal won't stay out of my car mirror

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Cardinal won't stay out of my car mirror
Mon, 06-02-2014 - 9:23am

Everyone I have told this story to laughs and thinks I am making it up so I am hoping someone here will be able to help me. I have a male cardinal who won't stay away from my car mirrors. At any given time you can walk outside and see him fluttering around my car looking at himself in the mirror. It wouldn't really be a problem for me but he is relieving himself all over my car. I have to wash it constantly.

I don't know if this helps or not but my car is red. Could that be what is attracting him?

Avatar for sabrtooth
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-1999
Mon, 06-02-2014 - 12:25pm
  • Many people are perplexed each spring by the sight of a cardinal attacking its reflection in a window, car mirror, or shiny bumper. Both males and females do this, and most often in spring and early summer when they are obsessed with defending their territory against any intruders. Birds may spend hours fighting these intruders without giving up. A few weeks later, as levels of aggressive hormones subside, these attacks should end (though one female kept up this behavior every day or so for six months without stopping).
  • The male cardinal fiercely defends its breeding territory from other males. When a male sees its reflection in glass surfaces, it frequently will spend hours fighting the imaginary intruder.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-16-2002
Mon, 06-02-2014 - 1:15pm

What the cardinal is attacking is its own reflection, I don't think it matters your car is red.  Because you use your car, it probably seems to the cardinal that his rival  comes and goes, so he keeps having to defend his territory. 

A few suggestions:

If you have the type of mirrors you can flip in, do that while it's parked so he can't see his reflection
Cover the mirrors with a plastic bag, mittens, socks when it's parked
Place mirrors in other locations (larger mirrors), on a stake in the garden, in the grass, somewhere it does not matter if the bird poops around it

Good luck!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

.  -Albert Einstein

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-16-2013
Tue, 06-03-2014 - 11:27am

THANK YOU so much! I had no idea this was a common problem and it never occured to me to cover my mirrors. I'll give it a try to see if it helps.

Community Leader
Registered: 11-21-2001
Wed, 06-04-2014 - 5:12pm learn something new every day....LOL....  When I lived in NJ it seemed that every year I had one cardinal that "guarded" my larger birdfeeder.  He would sit on the fence watching the birdfeeder and, on occasion, go over and eat himself.

Now that I live in Virginia we have a lot of cardinals, but I have never had an issue like you have.  Now I would know if suddenly one started staking out my car mirrors....