So I came home from the grocery store and the mockingbirds are rasping and flying around.
Aha, I thought, somebody decided to move in on the turf.
Then I noticed the cardinal hanging nervously off a bush.
Ohh, must be a cat.
The robin was also sounding off.
Half an hour later all the groceries are put away and I have made a cup of tea for lunch with croissant, and the mockers are still at it.
Must be serious, I thought. So I went out.
They were sitting on some bamboo my neighbor put up, staring at his house.
So I looked up. There was his cat looking out of the window on that side.
Mockingbirds don't understand the concept of the cat being locked up so they kept at it, screaming "Cat! Cat!"
The other birds couldn't see no stinking cat so they all went home.
The mockers kept it up. I went out again. This time it was on the other side, where a cat was sitting in the window enjoying the show. (Yes, both my neighbors have cats, more than one apiece.)
Finally both cats disappeared into the house.
It wasn't bad enough the cats showed up. Now, like the Cheshire Cat, they had disappeared.
Normally, when a cat is outside, the mockingbirds will work off their anger chasing it away, diving on it and pecking it until it's off their turf.
This time, the damn things just weren't there any more. The mockers couldn't understand it.
For an hour, the mockers flew from the fence on one side of my yard, looking up at one neighbor's windows, to the fence on the other side of my yard, looking up at the other set of windows, screaming "Cat" the whole time.
Finally, the Mrs. got hungry and remembered she had kids to feed, so she left.
The Mr. kept it up for another half hour before he went to lunch. Then he was right back at it.
About 4 p.m. Mrs. Mocker came back and chased her husband all over the roof of a gardening shed on one side, screaming at him, "I can't take care of these kids all alone. You drop this nonsense and come help me!"
Didn't make any difference.
The robin came by and told Mr. Mocker, "You're crazy, man. Ain't no cat here."
Mr. Mocker kept screaming "Cat!"
The house sparrows in the cedar tree started up, loudly gossiping so everybody could hear: "Cat's crazy, I mean, the man's crazy, no cat around, why's he so upset."
He ignored them.
About 5:30 his wife brought him a nice tempting orange berry to eat. He wouldn't take it. She flew off in despair.
He kept it up until about 6:10 when a brief thunderstorm seemed to cool him off.
Mockingbirds don't mind rain, in fact they are as likely to come out and shower off in it as to hide from it, but this time was different.
When the rain ended, the robins came out. They like rainbaths, too, and then they usually do some singing.
And here came the mockingbird back for another go-round. By 6:45 they were both back at it.
Not until almost 8 p.m. did my poor friend Flicker Jee the catbird get a word in edgewise.
With the dark, things got quiet. Mr. Mocker went home. His wife probably gave him a good scolding because things were back to normal -- QUIET -- the next morning.
Turns out it was the famous "new parents" situation. This is the first year of mating for this pair, and their first chick was just out of the nest. I have been hearing it peep from the bushes and seeing leaves flutter when it moves or the parents show up with bugs for it.
I've known lots of mockingbirds over the years but I've never seen one, let alone a pair, this crazed, not even with a chick newly out of the nest. So it never occurred to me that I might want to kill a mockingbird, apologies to the shades of Gregory Peck. Until this happened.
© Patricia Jo Heil, 2013-2018 All Rights Reserved.