It’s going to get ugly

I predict war will break out within the next few months, and I’ll probably be on the losing end. A mockingbird is building a nest in the live oak tree planted in our front yard.

Last Sunday I noticed the bird flying into the tree on a couple of occasions, seeming to pay no mind to us as we sat on the front porch (well, I sat while Debbie pruned shrubs, a pleasing tableau to my mind), but the implications didn’t sink in. Yesterday, though, I noticed it was continuing to pay close attention to the tree, often with twigs or grass in its mouth, so I conducted a closer inspection. The nest is almost complete, and it’s less than ten feet from ground level.

This does not bode well for lawn mowing this summer. Nesting mockingbirds are fiercely protective of their eggs and young, and their bravado borders on foolishness. They also have sharp beaks and claws and they know how to use them.

It’s highly entertaining to watch mockingbirds torment cats that wander into their territory; it’s less so when you’re on the receiving end of their attention. I once donned a motorcycle helmet to finish mowing our lawn (which might explain why our neighbors generally crossed the street when walking past our house) when we lived in Garland*, but only after a kamikaze attack left the top of my bare head oozing blood. I had a similar experience at our previous house, although no injuries were sustained other than to my pride as I ran for cover in my own yard.

So, I’m pessimistic about the prospects for peaceful co-existence this summer. I no longer own a motorcycle, but I may put my bike helmet by the front door…just in case.

*Yep, that’s the same “Garland, Texas” referred to in unflattering terms in the opening scenes of Zombieland. I have no idea why the filmmakers decided to pick on Garland (especially since the movie was shot primarily in Georgia), but I can assure you that the city does not look like it was destroyed by zombies. For the most part.


  1. Eric, I got the ‘mud birds’ (barn swallows) to move away from our porch. As they were building their nest, I put a small can in the nest and they moved on to the barn, where they belong!
    Our cats made a snack of one of our mockingbirds the other evening. I still hear one singing in the mornings.
    It is funny to see our ‘indoor-outdoor cat’ hear a quail when she is still in the house. She will get in the window and look out and then go to the door. I don’t let her out!
    I do hope your Uncles come see you and me, too.

  2. Alice, I finally claimed victory yesterday over the barn swallows that were convinced that the ceiling mounted speaker on our back porch was the perfect place for this year’s nest. I thought they’d never take the hint.
    I guess the cats do occasionally triumph over the mockingbirds. But their victories are more final; I’ve never heard of a mockingbird actually killing a cat.
    As I was about to say that I hadn’t heard anything about David and Martin’s plans, my phone rang and it was Mother calling to tell me that they were leaving FS in a bit and would be stopping by on their way home. So, I’ll get to visit with them for a while anyway. Looking forward to it!

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