Last spring, a Robin flew against my window in the morning, luckily the Robin survived, but strangely he didn’t learn from its painful experience. The Robin immediately flew against the window again and again and again.I was truly puzzled by this little bird’s behaviour.

I searched the Internet for the answer and found that Robins are very territorial birds. When a Robin sees another Robin in its breeding or feeding territory, it instinctively attacks the other bird. My window acted as a mirror to the Robin. As the Robin saw his reflection, he interpreted this as an intruder and began attacking to chase the intruder away. The Robin’s instinct to protect his territory was far greater than his pain memory.

As recommended on several websites, I put masking tape on the outside of the window, taking away the mirror effect for the bird. For the rest of the spring season the Robins around my home were safe.The phenomenon of head-bonking is also quite common in humans. Most of us have situations that trigger us. Just like Robins we instinctively react to perceived threats only to notice minutes later that we have once again bonked our head and are feeling the painful consequences. Fortunately, once aware of our triggers, we can put up some metaphorical masking tape to help us stop bonking our heads.

A more rewarding way to be with your triggers:

  • Think of a situation or behaviour that makes you angry, aggressive, defensive or frustrated.
  • Once you are aware of the trigger, take a look at what you would most want in this situation. Do you want to be respected? Do you want to be left alone? Do you want to feel connected? Do you want to be understood or appreciated? Name and acknowledge what you most want to receive.
  • Give that which you most want to receive to yourself. Ask yourself a question, such as: “What would I do, if I really respected myself today?” Find as many answers to this question as possible and act on the most appealing one.
  • Decide how you want to respond next time you encounter the situation or behaviour that triggers you. Taking a Mini-Retreat is a great way to start!
  • If you forget in the heat of the moment, remember tomorrow is a new day and a new opportunity to stop bonking your head.

    If a robin has chosen your backyard as his territory, you now know how to save him from bonking his head.

    Author's Bio: 

    Julia James, CPCC, PCC, M.Sc. is a multi-lingual certified life coach, award-winning author and international speaker. She helps busy professionals around the world achieve balance in their lives through individual life coaching and workshops. Author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution and the audio CD series, Guided Mini-Retreats for Busy People, she provides tools to manage stress effectively and to relax and re-energize quickly. Julia has been featured on Joy TV, CBC News, as well as in The Globe & Mail, Glow Magazine, BC Business Magazine and The Vancouver Observer.