It's a bit of an odd thing to see. Jersey birds giving each other the bird... figuratively speaking, that is.

Actually, it's quite a normal behavior for birds around springtime throughout the Great Garden State. The flipping-the-bird reference is more or less referring to one bird telling the other bird to stay away.

In reality, what you're seeing are male birds fighting with one another in the air. Sometimes it is only between two males, while at other times it could be three or more.

We first noticed this while walking our kids to school on the first day of spring. At first, it may appear that the birds are playing.

In actuality, what they're really doing is fighting over territory. Springtime is mating season for many of New Jersey's bird species, and the males are fighting to protect their territory.

Western meadowlark, rocky mountain arsenal wildlife refuge, western meadowlark
Eastern Meadowlark (AP)

Much like how during the fall male deer get crazy when their mating season hits. One huge difference here, of course, is that birds are much less likely to cause damage to our vehicles when going crazy as opposed to a deer jetting out into the road.

We reside in Monmouth County, and we've been noticing this odd behavior with cardinals. In fact, on the first day of spring, we saw as many as five birds fighting with one another.

It's fascinating to watch, and it did stop us in our tracks for a bit. That one moment when the fight started with two, then went to three, then four, then five.


I'm no bird expert, but based on what we saw that morning, I believe that every time these fighting cardinals got too close to another male's territory, that male went out to chase them away. Again, that's just a guess based on our observations.

But next time you're outside, just look around and see if you notice it as well. A big thanks to my mother-in-law who educated us on this phenomenon.

It is quite interesting though to watch all these males fight for their females. That's just nature doing its thing.

Jacques LE HENAFF via Unsplash
Jacques LE HENAFF via Unsplash

Speaking of nature doing its thing, our domesticated best friends also have some naughty habits of their own. And before you think too deeply into it, no, this one has nothing to do with mating.

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