Robins: 1 Mockingbird: 1

Ah, spring, when an evening stroller’s thoughts turn to duck!

Ahem, to avoiding the local wildlife, especially when that wildlife is re-enacting dog-fights straight out of Battle of Britain and Top Gun.

So there I was on Sunday evening, just before sunset, taking advantage of a relatively calm and most certainly peaceful interlude. I’d strolled a few blocks away from RedQuarters, taking in the sights and sounds, and dodging the occasional errant basketball and soccer ball. The hard freeze a few weeks ago has done a number on the pecan trees as well as the flowers, and I was sauntering along and speculating about one pecan in particular when

whizzzzzz! An unidentified low-flying object zipped past from six o’clock at ear level, looped up, and vanished into a cedar bush, triggering an uncontrolled chain reaction of scattering grackles. I’m all in favor of anyone or anything that scatters grackles.

The cedar bush began making blue-jay, robin, dove, cardinal, and other calls, letting the world know that a mockingbird was now in possession. I grinned.

I strolled a few houses father north, and stopped. A robin zoomed in front of me, from nine o’clock, descending, a mockingbird hard on his tail with a second robin in close pursuit of the mockingbird. The trio swooped down, wheeled up, and then the mockingbird dove, let the robins get ahead, and began chasing the second robin.

A father pushing a stroller grinned at the fuss, as did I. We nodded our hellos and went out separate ways.

I have not yet seen the Mississippi Kites. I suspect the drought has kept them away, since there is no water along their route of flight once you get past Kansas or north of the Edwards Plateau. I did see an evening-colored cat looking round, gray, and harmless in someone’s yard. A black and white tuxedo cat stalked two doves in an alley. The doves did not seem too concerned, since each dove out-massed the kitten at least two to one.

The mockingbirds seem to be hanging out in that cedar tree, which is fine. They’ll keep the [censored] grackles away. Last month, there were so many [mutter mutter] grackles in the trees at the north end of the road that I truly could not hear myself as they all swarmed in to roost. It’s really too bad that no one has developed a grackle-specific bird-herd-thinner. I don’t want all of them dead, just 90% or so.

On the up side, the gold finches are hanging around long enough for us to actually see them turning gold! Usually we get one or two days of vaguely yellow finches and then they all go away. This year we’re getting ten or twelve at a go on the bird bath.


13 thoughts on “Robins: 1 Mockingbird: 1

  1. Hope none of the birds “bomb” you with “droppings”. 👿

    • I’ve got a varmint call that is supposed to be a dying rabbit, but it sounds remarkably like those hadedas.

    • They remind me a bit of gallahs (Aussie bird) or as my mother is known to say, “… and then the [censored, censored] gallahs started calling Right. Over. Our. Tent.”

  2. You might know the answer to this– is there a bird around here that sounds like they’re imitating a car alarm, besides the mimics that are imitating a car alarm? Back home it was blackbirds copying the cars, but I’m not sure if grackles have the same skill.

    • Some grackles sound like car a few alarms, but mockingbirds really will mimic them. Quite effectively too, I can say from personal experience. I think a few of the corvids also mimic, but I don’t recall which ones.

      The Cornell Ornithology Lab online has lots and lots of info, with recordings of calls and all sorts of things.

      • Oh, delightful! It’s the Great-tailed Grackles that make our racket.

        Also, the Duchess is going to love this- she’s mildly obsessed with birds.

  3. It could be far worse:

    That naughty parrot is a criminal mastermind. It would shake down the grackles and mockingbirds for their lunch money, then kick them in the primary feathers for good measure. Probably eat their nestlings, too.

    Old NFO, I agree! We had boat-tail grackles in our area for a couple years, and the noise … ! I think the local hawks finally got them by day, and the owls at dawn/dusk/twilight. Never make noise when death is winging quietly in the sky.

      • Clearly you need more hawks! It’s illegal for people to kill grackles, but AFAIK hawks get a pass.

        • Depends on the kind of grackle. If it was introduced, or if it is on the TX predatory bird list, you can kill one in the act of predating on a native or desirable species. Or so an olde school fish-n-game gent told me some years back.

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