Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"To Feed a Mockingbird"

Bernie and I have been watching the mockingbird nesting activities from our breakfast room window. The chee chee chee sounds of the baby birds is a sure tip off that either Mom or Dad Mocker is about to deliver another tasty morsel to the growing chicks.

I watched the parents swooping in and out of the tree for awhile; it made me exhausted just watching them. The poor little birds...flying in with a tiny green bug, or grey worm, then heading back out to hunt again.

I decided to help out. The local pet shop sold me two dozen meal worms for $2.18. That seemed like a reasonable amount for such generously proportioned worms. As always, I took a moment to consider how to make the meal look as attractive as possible. Meal presentation always adds to the enjoyment of the dinner, don't you think?

A rustic hand throw pottery pedestal struck me as just the perfect backdrop for a mockingbird dinner.

I placed it under the tree, got a chair set up in the garage and waited to see what would happen.
Nothing happened.
The birds took one quick look, and went back to hunting afar.

Bernie peeked out and suggested that I place the worms in a more shallow dish.
My "Herbs and Spices" pattern ought to do. Low edge, and a nice wild foliage print.

The mockingbirds continued to fly in and out with various insects to feed their young.

Maybe the mocks would rather the bowl be in the backyard. I placed the bowl on the patio table. A squirrel dropped by to check it out.

Apparently a vegetarian, the worms remained untasted.

I thought squirrels ate grubs. Guess not.

Bernie popped out again to suggest putting a shoe box lid under the nest and putting the worms in that.
I had already invested about an hour of my time at this point, so whatever

A shoebox lid.
Go figure.

The mocker grabbed a big ol' worm, and ran with it to the edge of the driveway to start knocking it on the ground. Bernie was impressed. "She's making sure it is dead. Those worms are big enough they could harm the chicks if they are still alive."

I don't know if that is true, but the bird really was pretty brutal to the worm.

Bernie had placed two worms in the box. After the first two were served up to the chicks, he added four more. They were likewise dispatched in quick order.

A pointed look let us know that more worms were now expected to be served.

Bernie moved the Herbs and Spices dish off the patio table and on to our garden bench. The birds discovered it there and in no time at all, all twenty four meal worms had been consumed.
This morning instead of us watching the mockingbirds, the mockingbird was watching us.
Hart and Mocker were having a stare down too.

The bird wasn't going to give an inch.

We ate our cereal and drank our coffee to a steady scolding Cheet-cheet-cheet.

This is going to be have to be a fast post.

I've got to head out to the pet shop; I've gotta get some more worms.
I've created a monster.
Oh boy, a mockingbird with a two dollar a day mealyworm habit.
I wonder how long until the chicks leave the nest.

(Interestingly, we never saw the birds eat a worm. They consistently flew off with the worm to deliver them to the nest.)


Anonymous said...

What fun reading about your Mockingbird experience!!! I'm not sure who is training who, but I think the birds have your number!! We have some busy birds too, but not as entertaining as yours. Love, mom S.

Lovella ♥ said...

Oh I love this post.... you and Bernie bird farmers of sorts. Terry has been busy bringing water to his baby chicks. . .maybe you might want to consider that option for them as well.
Keep us posted. Such fun.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm afraid you've created a Mockingbird Monster! Don't make them angry - they will attack you!

Perhaps it's a good thing that Hart has something else to focus on for now, rather than spatting with Tiggie.

Anonymous said...

hilarious! Can't say they look very appetizing to me, but whatever! I love Hart's expression. He's wondering why you're feeding the food.

Jane Carlstrom said...

It is amazing how fast wild creatures figure out food sources. What a fabulous record and awesome title. So enjoy your writing.

Miss Janey said...

If the mockingbirds start pecking at your windows, it's time to reconsider...

Miss Janey said...

If the mockingbirds start pecking at your windows, it's time to reconsider...

Kanani said...

A swell post! Love the cat....

joanna Harper said...

well hello there right now i ahve a mom and dad mockingbirds in my tree so far the mom has laid 3 eggs andd im loving the experience i take pictures everyday and make sure the eggs are always safe i like the idea of the worms i also read that they like fruit so today i put grapes out there for them thanks for the blog nice to now there are people out there just as excited as i am..................goona buy some worms for my grandbabies.......lol

Anonymous said...

well im sadden to have to come and tell you that when i came home today from work like usual i check on the eggs and they were gone im so devastated i dont know what happened

EricaMaxine said...

Don't know if this post is still active but I'll tell you what we feed our Mockingbird. We used to throw red grapes on the ground and they would scoop it up and fly and eat it. Long story short, we not only get the Mockingbird to eat out of our hand but yesterday he came into the dining room for his grape. He is so trusting. I'll be putting a picture on my website today if you care to look.
Great story by the way.