Do You Know The Mockingbird?
As I’ve made my way along my ten minute loop drive around our Oyster Cove community each morning, I’ve come to know a pair of Northern Mockingbirds that reside at the end of the tennis courts. Definitely a territorial bird, the mockingbird will chase other species from the area, while clearly making its presence known. Mockingbirds are very loud and vocal, and enjoy singing day and night. Their songs are complicated, as they continue throughout life learning new sounds, including imitating other birds’ songs. A male mockingbird may learn 200 songs in its lifetime!
I’ve taken many photos of this pair, but have also just sat and watched as they busily fly from branch to branch, keeping their territory protected. Although they chase others, I’ve watched this pair reside alongside a pair of red-winged blackbirds who are nesting 12 feet away, and a pair of pigeons who are nesting 20 feet away. Here’s a shot of one of the mockingbirds perched with the male red-winged blackbird. (The red-winged blackbird’s nest is located below and to the left in the photo.)
It has felt like the mockingbirds have come to know me as well! Instead of the immediate vocal flight taken when I arrived, they would stay perched and just watch me, with an occasional song of beauty, no screaming. Sometimes I didn’t see them until they sang out, giving their location away. Maybe saying, hi? 😉 Striking such nice poses, I found myself snapping a shot or two daily, collecting a nice series for my files. Here are a few of my favorites….
As I watched their activity, I soon learned where their home was located. Only four feet from the ground in a tree, it was easy to watch from a distance without disturbing them as they busily built their nest; and soon I discovered momma laying low within it, indicating she was incubating.
And now my presence wasn’t welcomed. I was reprimanded with screams from the dad, as he flew from perch to perch, almost circling me. I think he wanted to corral me, to force me out of the area! So from that day on, I drove or walked past them quickly with stopping, giving them the privacy they deserved.
Finally, I knew it had been more than enough time for the eggs to hatch. This past Tuesday morning, I sat and watched for activity from my car. Barn swallows and purple martins were soaring everywhere, while my red-winged blackbird buddy sang from his favorite perch above his nest.
And then I heard my mockingbird. I haven’t been able to figure out how to differentiate between the male and female mockingbird, but I just felt it was momma. She was perched on the picnic table, with a mouthful of insects. Yummy! And that means newborns maybe?
She then flew into her tree. Parked 20-25 feet away, I slipped out of my car, saw a clear shot into the tree while on my knees and snapped a few photos, hoping at least one would be focused enough to see if there the nest. There were three babies, and I somewhat lucked out! 🙂
Those insects didn’t last five seconds! Momma then flew out of the tree and perched on it higher up. Another great pose with the berries!
I immediately got up, slowly backed away, and left so I wouldn’t startle her to fly away from the tree. She just sat there and watched me leave. The look of goodbye, now leave please!
Wednesday morning I was eager to see the activity at the nest. We went from cool spring-like days earlier this week, with Tuesday starting to warm up. But Wednesday morning, we awoke to the heat-wave that has settled over the mid-Atlantic region, with temps due to soar to the mid to high 90’s, and due to feel like over 100 with the humidity. As all wildlife tries to exist through the heat, I wondered how those three little mockingbirds were going to survive all stuffed down in their nest.
I needn’t worry. I found all three out of the nest, each perched on a different branch. They knew what to do. I found one of the parents perched up on the tennis courts fence, watching over them. I slowly positioned and was able to get a shot of each one, and then quickly left. Here’s the three little ones….
I’ve since stayed away but am tickled on what I got to see and experience, it was a joy!
Speaking of joys, we have another family of mockingbirds I can see from my balcony. Here’s one of the parents perched below me on the lower roof, overseeing their territory and nest that is in the marshy grass at the base of our osprey nest platform.
And here’s his/her two fledglings. I’ve been photographing them as well, but they don’t stay still very long; and they’re about 150-200 feet from me.
I have one final Northern Mockingbird photo to share that was taken at Lippincott’s Marina next door in their parking lot. I did not review the three photos I took until today and was surprised by the image in all three. In the background was a sailboat’s staff, which to me looks like a cross. I did not touch the image except brighten and crop it. (The ‘circle’ image on the cross is something hanging on the sailboat, not a blemish on my lens.) I thought this capture turned out special… 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the Northern Mockingbird through my lens! As always, thank you very much for stopping by, it is a pleasure to share my photos with you. 🙂