Territorial Issues – A Mockingbird Pair and Me

A warm, sunny, very windy afternoon, with occasional strong gusts that bend the pines and toss the oaks. The ground is littered with fresh green leaves blown down by the strong winds that have continued since rain storms passed through early Sunday. Undeterred, a pair of tiny Blue-gray Gnatcatchers flit from place to place in the treetops calling a raspy “Spee! Spee!” Several Chipping Sparrows hunt in the grass or sit on low branches and sing their long, intense trills. Our Bluebird pair is feeding babies now, making frequent trips in and out of the bluebird house. Chimney Swifts swoop overhead, twittering, and several lemon-yellow Goldfinches – not quite in their full spring gold yet – visit the feeder and sing and call from all around.

A pair of Mockingbirds is trying to build a nest in a large tea olive bush right beside the porch where I’m sitting. One has flown to several branches nearby, carrying in its bill some dry stems. I’m guessing it’s a male, since a Mockingbird male selects a nest site and builds most of the nest, though it could be either, because the female helps some, too. This one is obviously disturbed by my presence. Once, he came to the top of the tea olive bush for several seconds and considered me – then flew away again, still with the nesting materials in his bill. He and his mate sat on a low branch of a water oak and discussed the situation in harsh tones, or maybe they were scolding me. I’m not sure what’s going to happen if they continue to build a nest here – I have no intention of giving up sitting on the porch, but they certainly won’t like having me so near.

One Response to “Territorial Issues – A Mockingbird Pair and Me”

  1. crusesanders says:

    It has been a quiet spring in North Carolina. This is because of sudden change in temperature – cold. The recent change in an otherwise warm winter and early spring has knocked back the blooms and slowed the usually steady progression of green across the treetops of the Carolina piedmont. You remind me that the spring has other sources of color – lemon yellow, gold, blue, blue-gray in the birds setting up housekeeping.

    Tallulah keeps her eyes out of the window as we drive across town. She spots “her bird” and wonders why he has ventured outside of “her yard.” “What’s he doing?” she asks. This is just before she uses ‘gazebo’ in a sentence. Very impressive.

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