It was late at night, and I could hear something scrabbling at the high window at the top of the room. A bird. During the day you might have the occasional bird to fly into a window, but this wasn’t a single hit. This bird was fluttering against the glass repeatedley and really trying to get in!
Was it trying to make my acquaintance!? Ha! Obviously not, but why would it want to come into the living room of a house? I’d heard Little Owl outside earlier and thought it might be one of those. That’s the kind of bird that I expect to be curious about sheltered spaces – perhaps exploring potential roost sites, or new places to find prey.
Looking up to the top window I saw it trying again and again, but couldn’t make out what it was, and it didn’t resemble an owl. Anyway, I started to think that this animal might do itself some harm, so I switched off the lights in the room.
I decided to take a look outside. I took a camera with quite a long lens, and hoped the pop-up flash would be sufficient because I didn’t want to spend extra time putting on a flashgun.
When I got into the garden I could make out that it was quite a small bird. There it was, still focussed on the task of getting through the window. I took a few shots and zoomed in to the screen to see if I had a good enough picture for identification. The autofocus had worked and the flash was OK, even at about 8 metres away in the dark.
[click photo to enlarge]
Then I left it to calm down and change its mindset, the room now dark. In another room I looked up the bird in a book and it’s a Skylark. (Great illustrations by Mullarney and Zetterström clearly showing plumage in Bird Guide. 1999 Collins).
The Skylark is an animal of open spaces, never a dweller of buildings or nesting holes of any sort. I’m baffled about this odd behaviour. Was it migrating at night, and had its navigation interrupted by the lights on the farm? But why would it home in to my window? I think it was just a very confused lark. Have you seen behaviour like this?
Natureheads.com © Jason Ball