Strange behaviour of a cirl bunting........

About 6 weeks ago, maybe more, we were visited by a Cirl Bunting which was lovely as we had never seen one before. Just outside of our living room we have a patio and on the patio we have an old woodburner with a 4 foot high shiny stainless steel flue on it which we use as a decorative planter. At the base of the flue is a finger thick bar that was the damper to control the air flow, the stove is positioned against a stone wall, on top of the wall is a shiny green plastic plant pot. Now, I first noticed the bird as he was looking at his reflection in the green plastic plant pot and pecking at it  but then I noticed that he would also jump on to the old damper arm, which he uses as a perch, look at his reflection in the shiny flue, peck at his reflection for a while then fly vertically to the top of the flue pecking at his reflection on the way, stand on top of the rim of the flue for a few seconds, dive down to the wall, jump on to his perch next to the flue, look at his reflection, peck at it, fly to the top rim, dive down to the wall, jump on to his perch, look at his reflection, peck at it, fly to the top rim, dive down to the wall, jump on to his perch etc etc etc ad infinitum !?

As if this is not strange enough, he actually comes back time after time and goes through this routine for at least 20 minutes disappearing every now and then but always returning to repeat the same routine, he is actually here most of the day doing this and has been doing it every day for at least 6 weeks, we call him 'Bunty'. Once I was sitting at our picnic table next to the stove and he arrived, stood on his 'perch', looked at me for a second then carried on with his routine. Every morning we can hear him from first light pecking at his reflection in the stainless steel flue.I can see him now, up and down, peck peck peck, up and down....... I have never in my life witnessed such strage bird behaviour...... Avian OCD?!

  • I would say that he sees his reflection & thinks it's a rival. The kindest thing would be to cover the shiny bit if possible with black plastic & he can go off & do what birds normally do, which is look for a mate.

    Best wishes

    Hazel in the Gironde estuary, France

  • In reply to Noisette:

    That is exacrly what we thought and so after a week we covered the flue with a black T shirt and he disappeared. However, as soon as we took it off a week later he was back at his old routine. Even if it is him thinking it is a rival it is very strange because of his persistence, all day every day for over 6 weeks ? Then there is his little ritual, and he is not always pecking, sometimes he just sits and stares at himself and sometimes he just dances around the green pot looking at himself. We rather lke him and will miss him when he has gone !
  • It would be in the bird's best interest if you prevented the reflection again.

    You posted about swallows, or lack of, recently. Presumably you're in SW England?
  • In reply to Robbo:

    Brittany