Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Mockingbird, part 2

In a March 4th posting, I told the story about a male mockingbird that had taken over my front yard, chasing away all other birds and attacking any that dared try to return to the feeder. I was in despair, at a loss as to how to get rid of him without the use of a bb gun. This is a continuation of that story.

Shortly thereafter, as quickly as my yard had been taken hostage, it was released. Mr. Mockingbird disappeared, and one by one the other birds reappeared. Oh, the joy of seeing my bright yellow goldfinches again! Then the hummingbirds appeared, and all was right with my garden world. I kept an eye out for the invader, and soon spotted him sitting atop a basketball hoop across the street, allowing him a better vantage point for doing whatever it is that mockingbird's do. Good riddance, I said to myself!

Yesterday morning, as I was walking thru my living room, I glanced out the window and saw a flash of blue. The bluebirds had come out of their winter hideouts! Later that day, the male and female appeared, entering and exiting a decorator bird house hanging from a shepherd's hook a mere six or eight feet from the window. I was talking excitedly to my daughter about it on the phone, when out of nowhere appeared ... you guessed it ... the mockingbird! And attacked the bluebirds and chased them off. I cussed and screamed, watching in horror as I gave Melody a blow by blow of the attack, and then watched in disapointment as the mockingbird struck a pose on top of the shepherd's hook, his chest puffed out and head held high with pride at his conquest. To add insult to injury, from off to the side appeared ... Mrs. Mockingbird! Oh no! Surely they didn't intend to take my yard captive again and take up residence for the summer?

Much to my surprise, the bluebirds actually reappeared a short while later, and once again began testing the bird house. This was really a total surprise, because bluebirds (1) don't like to be that close to a house, (2) don't like hanging bird houses, and (3) need a bigger house than this relatively small one. But here they were, defying the odds. I ran to the store to get a regulation bluebird house, replaced the decorator one, and stood back to watch to see if they'd accept the replacement. Lo and behold, here they came again! After testing it, and deciding that it would do, they began gathering grass to make their nest.

Yes, the mockingbirds showed themselves again throughout today, but the bluebirds stood their ground and fought back, so for the moment all is well. But they will have their hands full the next few weeks, not only defending their nest from Mr. and Mrs. Mockingbird, but from the many sparrows who are notorious for aggressively taking over the nests and killing the occupants, nestlings and adults alike (and building their nest on top of the remains!). I will be watching closely, lending a hand when I can, and if all goes well we will see eggs in a week or so, and celebrate nestlings two weeks after that.

Hopefully, by the time that happens, and the fledglings three weeks after that, I will not only have figured out the finer features of my first digital camera for the photos, but also know how to get those photos to the computer so I can share them with you!

I hope you are enjoying the awakening of your yard in this early stage of Spring. Is there something about this time of year that is especially exciting for you?


Wendy said...

It sort of makes me sad to realize that all the happy bird twittering that we hear at this time of year is the avian equivalent of...

Hey, f you!
You wanna piece of this?
Hey there, baby, wanna go do it?

I try not to think about it. But your description of the sparrows may have scarred me for life. ;)

Wander to the Wayside said...

I know what you mean! Nature can be both beautiful and cruel! I used to have to suck up my freak out when my sweet cats played their cat and mouse games (batting it around before moving in for the kill), because it is just part of their genetic makeup - the same with their bird stalking. David said that he saw the bluebirds literally pen a sparrow down in the dirt today, and the mockingbird was sitting nearby but decided the game was too rough for him! I'm telling you, we're glued to the window watching and fascinated by all the activity! A true reality show!

cujosgonewild said...

Yay for getting the smaller birds back! I wish the bluebirds the best of luck with their nesting.

I just recently put a bird house up in my backyard. I hope eventually it gets used. I haven't seen very many birds yet though. I get quite a few wrens with my bird feeder. Ive seen a robin or two show up nearby but never in my backyard. And all the pigeons... but I don't need them :)

I can't wait to see photos!