Cape Sparrow licks windows .. is this normal behaviour?

Cape Sparrow licks windows .. is this normal behaviour?

I’m sure it isn’t !!  We have one stupid bird .. or an artist at work!!

For a few weeks there has been a pair of Cape Sparrows doing the oddest thing .. well the male does the oddest thing and the female is either telling him her beloved mate has gone a bit crazy or she just can’t cotton on to the idea of what he is doing !!

He licks the windows !!!!  I’m not sure what he’s licking.  The windows are not all that clean at the moment – the window panes get splattered with water from the garden spray, then the wind blows dust etc hence the panes of glass are speckled.  Maybe there’s something nutritional in the dust particles!!  But apparently birds have only 20-30 taste buds on their tongues (QI on DSTV for that startling info!!) so he’s either trying his damnest to get the flavours off the panes or he’s just plain stupid!  

This ritual started on one of the lounge window panes – always the same one!   They then moved, a week or two later, to one of the window panes on the garage window.   I never thought to try and take photographs while this was going on but when they moved to the dining room window another week or two after that,  I decided it needed to be captured! My photos are not very clear – I had the camera on sport mode but these are the best of the many I’ve taken.  From the dining room window, they moved onto the study window!!!  Now they go from one to the other .. in no particular order !!!!

Mr Sparrow is a cheeky little thing and seems to watch me .. as soon as I get the camera out, he chirps madly to Mrs Sparrow and they fly off ! 

“Hello everyone … let me introduce ourselves .. we are Mr and Mrs Sparrow

“I’m Capey Sparrow …

“… and this is my beloved, Capella … 

“I love licking windows !!!   Trying to get Capella to lick windows is exhausting … she just doesn’t want to try it .. it’s not that difficult!  All she has to do is .. flap flap flap … peck peck peck … lick lick lick … chirp chirp chirp

 ” All she does is run up and down the window sill .. s i l e n t l y … following me while I hop along the sill pecking at the window and watching me fly up the pane ..  flap flap flap … peck peck peck … lick lick lick … chirp chirp chirp …

… flap flap flap .. … peck peck peck … lick lick lick … chirp chirp chirp …

… flap flap flap … peck peck peck … lick lick lick … chirp chirp chirp …

“.. then she chirps, telling me to stop being such a messy pooper of sills and painter of panes -I am an artist after all – the art of delicate yellow brush/tongue strokes all over window panes

“The next best thing about this pastime is teasing Jackie   …

When will it stop !!!!  I have very dirty window panes and equally messy window sills !!!


7 Replies to “Cape Sparrow licks windows .. is this normal behaviour?”

  1. Got an answer from Twitter 🙂
    @RubyGold 10:14pm via SocialScope
    @Jenty it may be they see their reflections and think it’s a rival
    @6000 10:15pm via TweetDeck
    @RubyGold @Jenty Absolutely right. The male will get all frisky showing off to the female against his similar sized rival.

  2. They’ve been at it at our lab as well. He’s showing off against his reflected rival in the window – all for his lady’s affections.
    Similar behaviour can be observed in humans most weekend evenings on Long Street in Cape Town. Anywhere with a shiny vertical surface.

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