The Mockingbird Waits is the latest addition to the gallery. This is a close up portrait of a Northern Mockingbird taking a relaxing break from his springtime song and hunt for bugs. In this case, this bird sits on a dead stump waiting to hear the illustrious call of a mate nearby.
While this bird lives in Texas year round, they become more active and appear more and more as the weather turns from the chilly ice-cold Texas winters to the blazing heat of the summers.
They get the name mockingbird because of their ability to mimic other sounds around them. They sing their own unique songs, mimic other birds, or even imitate sound making devices such as whistles and musical instruments.
In fact they carry out this task of mimicry so well, the only way to tell it’s not real and just a mockingbird is that they tend to sing their imitation in songs of three bursts.
Unfortunately, they not only sing during day but also on some moonlit nights. It’s during these all night concerts that people discover just how stubborn this little bird is.
While in college on the night before a final exam, I had one of these small singers decide to sit in a tree outside my window and exclaim its joy to the world at 2 am. This lasted for an hour before I took drastic measures. Only after attacking the tree with a baseball bat to make loud noises and shake the branches did I prevail in silencing its repertoire and scaring it away.
I was lucky. These birds are very territorial and have no qualms about attacking larger animals that wander into its perceived territory. In fact, I know of at least one person who received a broken ankle and another who broke his leg trying to escape the clutches of these relentless little winged terrors. They will sometimes attack eagles or hawks by dive bombing them and pecking at them until they leave the territory. They have no fear.
My office is now on the edge of a Mockingbird family’s territory. Recently, I was privy to the continuous call of a young mockingbird chick to its mother. It is clear that the mother bird was attempting to teach the youngster to hunt, with loud protests of displeasure from the young chick.
However, the youngster was having none of that nonsense and proceeded to squawk continuously for 4 hours before the mother finally gave up and fed the darling. After three hours, I began looking for any reason to be in another place than that office.
I thought about taking some pictures but they perched in a tree by the door. I didn’t wish to scare the mother away thus leaving me with an abandoned hungry chick. Thank heaven for earplugs.
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