Monday, October 7, 2013

Outdoors -- He's Here, He's There

He's everywhere -- so beware!

I heard an outraged squeal outside my front door yesterday morning.  A squirrel had just learned that we have a new male mockingbird on patrol and the free and easy days of scampering everywhere and meddling with everything are over.

I like mockingbirds.  I like their attitude.  Our old mockingbird was a great guy.  My neighbor was out enjoying her back yard with a glass of wine and the mockingbird sat on my fence, blessed her out good and proper, and then flew off when he decided he's told her what was what.

He also called out George Thoroughgood.  I was sunning myself in back, playing CDs and blasting the sound out where I could hear it.  Lonesome George came on -- I don't even remember what the song was -- and the mockingbird took exception to it.  He ran back and forth on my porch between me and the back door, running through his repertoire at top voice, then ran down the walk and finished off in a tree in my back neighbor's yard when George finished.

Squirrels, they can't call their lives their own when there's a mockingbird nearby.  I remember the old mockingbird snatched one of them bald, it had a pink patch on its back where the mockingbird pulled out the hair.  Once our squirrels realize what's going on, I can breathe a sigh of relief because the critters won't be running their claws through my compost right after I plant my veggies in the spring.  The mockingbird will put a stop to that.

There were a pair of nesting mockingbirds in DC near a government building.  They would regularly attack passersby.  But mockingbirds are smart, they know who is local and who isn't, and I'm betting that none of the people who worked in that building ever got attacked.  I never have been attacked by a local mockingbird.

Mockingbirds eat tons of insects while they raise their three broods a year.  If you want to attract them, you need to plant a male and female pair of American holly trees within 100 feet of each other.  Mockingbirds eat the berries in winter.  The hollies pollinate on the wind, not through insects, and they won't pollinate if they're too far away from each other, and you want them to pollinate to make the berries.

Mockingbirds.  If Jews could have totems, mockingbirds would be mine.  Their versatility, their attitude, their going out in the rain when other birds hide, the way they take care of their mates and chicks -- and what they do to the squirrels.  What's not to like?

© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved

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