Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More Evidence of Hardship

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)
Although temperatures have begun to return to normal here in the northern Piedmont (average this time of year should be 44 degrees Fahrenheit), the ground is still covered with plenty of deep, crusty snow and the wildlife is desperate for food.

For the first time in the 26 years I have lived here, a Northern Mockingbird has begun to appear regularly at my suet feeder.  Mockingbirds, like American Robins, are insectivores during the warmer months, but switch to berries during the winter.  Clearly, the supply of edible, freeze-dried fruit on the vine has been exhausted and the mockingbird has turned to the only food it can find.

For so many of us, this winter can't end soon enough.


packrat said...

It's incredible to see the kind of winter you folks back east are having to endure.

Quick mockingbird story: when I first started grad school at Arizona State I'd ride my bike from our small house off campus to the English department. For several days in a row, just as I rounded the corner near the anthropology building I felt something smack the top of my head; but each time I'd stop to look I would see nothing.

Then, a few days later, I was sitting outside on one of the concrete benches near the spot having a cup of coffee when I saw a guy riding the same bike path I always took. A mockingbird launched itself out of a nearby palm tree, dive-bombed the bike rider and nearly knocked his baseball cap off. He wore the same startled expression I must have had the previous few days.


Scott said...

When we lived in central Florida, we had a mockingbird that scolded our cat every time the cat went into the back yard. (We let our cats outside then, but no longer.)

"Your" mockingbird must had its stealth shield up if it struck you every time you rode by and you were never able to see it. Nevertheless, you've shared a good story; thank you!

Mark P said...

When I see what you all have to deal with I feel like a witness at a traffic accident. I feel bad for the victims but I'm glad we haven't had the same experience. I hope you all get some more moderate weather soon, but not all at once.

I had a similar mockingbird experience when I was running many years ago. It dive bombed me one several occasions but never actually made contact. I also remember watching a mockingbird harassing one of my old dogs. The dog never even noticed.

Scott said...

You know, Mark, until I owned a parrot I thought that Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds" was a bit over the top. But now I know first-hand (so to speak) the damage that one single bird can cause; imagine the injury and mayhem that Hitchcock's birds could have perpetrated! Thus, it's probably for the best that the mockingbird never made physical contact with you or your dog.