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To Help a Mockingbird

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When I first retired, I planted 200 shrubs, 90 rose bushes, and filled wooded terraces in the back of the house with about 15 truckloads of top soil and mushroom soil.  One day, while I was working behind the house planting in a lower terraced garden, a Northern Mockingbird began screaming at me from the roof of my home.  At first, I just looked up at the mockingbird.  Then I screamed back because the bird wouldn't stop.  This is where the crazy part of the story begins.

I remember birders telling me about bluebirds coming to their windows to let them know they wanted some food.  I thought that was nonsense until I dealt with this mockingbird.  The mockingbird had a nest about 2 feet off of the ground in one of my rose bushes.  As I looked towards a cherry tree on the other side of the rose bushes, the mockingbird flew to that cherry tree and kept squaking at me.  By now, I thought the mockingbird might be asking for my help.  I told you it would sound crazy.  I ran to the top of the rose garden where I could survey my land from the woods to the cherry tree.  There, at the edge of the woods, was the mockingbird's problem.  It was a cat that was threatening the mockingbird's nest.  As I ran towards the cat in an effort to scare it away, the mockingbird followed me and landed in a tree above the cat.  After the cat was scared away, the mockingbird returned to its nest. Problem solved.  I had helped a mockingbird.  

The next day, I needed to mulch the rose garden where the mockingbird's nest was.  Mockingbirds protect their nests by flying at people who get too close for the mockingbird's comfort.   However, I wanted to get that garden mulched.  Would the mockingbird and her mate tolerate me or would they attack me?  I moved around the nest on my hands and knees spreading mulch but being careful to never look directly at the nest.  I talked gently while I was mulching and waited for the attack.  It never came.  I guess the mockingbirds recognized me and decided I was not a threat.  

Over the next several years, I had mockingbird nests in my yard every Summer.  I listened to the chicks chirping at feeding time.  Sometimes, I saw the chicks leave their nest and walk through the grass until they could perch on something above the ground.  They always made a single peep as they travelled to let their parents know where they were.  When I heard the peeps off of the ground, I knew the chicks had reached safety.

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