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.