Wednesday, February 10, 2016
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Published: Sunday, 3/23/2014

Cardinal attacks its reflection in window, mirrors


Dear Dr. Thompson: We have a cardinal, possibly a male, that is constantly flying into the front window of the home. I think it is seeing a reflection that the bird thinks is another bird. The most disgusting thing is it keeps going to the car mirrors on the car. I have tried to discourage this by shooing the bird away, to no avail. I have even thought of putting cardboard in the mirror. Do you have any idea why the bird is doing this?

Cardinals are aggressive birds that may think they’re protecting their territory  when they fly into their reflection. Cardinals are aggressive birds that may think they’re protecting their territory when they fly into their reflection.
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I must admit I know very little about birds because my specialty is canine and feline practice, but I consulted with a representative of Nature’s Nursery to get an answer to your question.

Apparently, cardinals are aggressive birds and the behavior you are seeing is most likely related to a combination of territorial aggression and a lack of smarts that the reflection is not another bird. The suggestion passed along to me was to find a sticker for the window with an outline that will break up the reflection and deter the behavior. Obviously, that is not a safe suggestion for your car side mirrors, but it might encourage your feathered Don Quixote to move on down the road and battle someone else’s reflective windmill.

You also might hang some ribbon or a wind chime in front of the window if you do not want a sticker disrupting your view. I hope that helps, as the bird could get seriously hurt or killed flying into the window. Good luck.

Dear Dr. Thompson: My cat was losing weight and suddenly he was constipated. The vet did blood work, a sonogram, and a biopsy, and the result was a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in February. We were told there is basically nothing that can be done. Everything I have read and a second consultation with another vet seems to confirm that. What I would like to ask is if you think there may be any benefit from any sort of medication or herbal remedy that would help his digestive system function better, encourage him to eat a little more, or otherwise keep him at a better quality of life. I realize that we will have to put him to sleep when the time comes, but I want him to enjoy what time he has left as much as possible.

I am truly sorry to hear that this is the diagnosis for your cat. Without knowing exactly what type of cancer I can’t offer any specifics, but some small solitary tumors like an insulinoma can be surgically removed. Other forms of pancreatic cancer have a much poorer prognosis and are very aggressive. If the cancer is interfering with the production of the digestive enzymes, supplementation with medication can help him absorb more of the nutrients in his diet. I hope he has the opportunity to enjoy his time with you and I would encourage you to work with your veterinarian to give him the best quality of life possible.

Questions for Dr. Gary Thompson can be emailed to askthevet@theblade.com or mailed to The Blade, Attn. Ask the Vet, 541 N. Superior St., Toledo, OH 43660. Dr. Thompson regrets that he cannot answer individual letters.

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