Tuesday, June 5, 2012


This Grouchy Little Man Doesn't Do Mornings

It's fledgeling season here by the forest.  As our little space is generously populated with Mockingbirds this makes for a stressful time of year.  

Mockingbirds have the erroneous reputation of being a bit overprotective of their young.  A little too 1950's in their approach to child rearing. After all, we've all watched at least one video of a fussy mockingbird parent dive-bombing the neighborhood feline in protection of the young'ns.  

However, I propose to you that the "overly involved" parenting reputation is unwarranted.  In fact, it's just plain and blatantly wrong.

This is the real truth of our mockingbird friends; they are the most flower child inspired, free flow parenting, find your inner self, practically laissez-faire parents on the block.  Fledglings leave the nest and toddle about on the ground with no direction and no career counseling. And really, natural instinct only takes you so far.  Generally, it takes them out on the asphalt of our street.  Even though we live at the quiet end of a quiet street, early summer will find me chasing a mockingbird fledgling out of harm's way.  Yes, it does look silly.  (There are cats out there.  Find some cover you silly birds.)

Lest I sound too harsh, the mockingbirds deserve some credit.  Dad is usually hanging about somewhere watching over these bumbling little fledges, bringing the occasional meal, and casting a watchful eye.  This type of guarding has a haphazard kind of success.  After all, the fledges can't actually fly or feed themselves.  Mom has moved on to sit on the couple's next nestful of eggs.

Compare this to the cardinals I watch at the feeder.  Mom and Dad Cardinal will bring their offspring to branch nearby, grab a seed from the feeder and fly back to plop that tidbit straight into junior's mouth.  Now, that's involved parenting.

This is why I am now watching our current fledge with trepidation.  I noticed him on the way out to my car this morning.  He was sitting on the edge of The Hound Dawgs deep water bowl.  The sighting required a trip back inside to warn The Finman that Hound Dawg should not come out into the yard.  Then, I had to wonder (and worry) about whether that silly little fledge would fall in the deep bowl and drown?  "Can't they swim?" the Finman asked.  "I have no idea," I answered.  

I decided the best thing would be to make sure he got away from the deep bowl and left the Dawg's space.  (I also needed to take photos.)  Fledge was very accommodating by jumping onto the ground himself and toddling out of the chain link fence and over to the butterfly garden where he apparently remained all day.  Now, he is perched a foot or so above the ground in a little juniper bush.  

I hope he did okay during the thunderstorm we just had. 

What a lot of work this fledgeling business is.  How'd we get saddled with babysitting?  We don't even get paid for this.


  1. Me too. A very wise man once said that someone could get a bit of a crush on her, just from reading her blog. And it's true.

  2. We had plenty of mockingbirds in Miami where I grew up. They were the ones that would kick the protesting chicks out of the nest in the most heartless fashion. The dive bombing is just sport to them, I've concluded. They may get credit for protecting their young, but I think it is the sheer joy of tormenting cats and squirrels that is the motivation. It's a wonder any of their babies survive. But that may be what gives them their ornery grit in later life.
    Good think this bunch has you to help their odds of surviving their derelict parents.

  3. You may live at the end of a quiet street but it is not boring!

  4. I'm glad I dropped by. I've missed reading your posts. I have started getting more interested in bird watching, and I am looking forward to learning the names of all the new birds that I'm seeing since we moved.

  5. KIT,

    SO VERY glad to see you! I'll be stopping by your place to catch up.


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