I don’t love mockingbirds, but a nest of babies is always exciting! Here they are in a very messy stick nest in my redbud tree.

I think there are two babies in there.

I think there are two babies in there.

One summer I had a mockingbird that learned the sound of the UPS truck backing up {BEEP, BEEP, BEEP} and she would perch just outside of my open bedroom window and broadcast that noise for hours, starting around 2 am.

The mother of these babies has learned a different noise. It is the sound of my dog, Fraser, whining. He actually rarely whines, just to go out or to come back in. For the last week he has been whining constantly. I keep getting up to go let him out, only to find him lying on the floor by the screen door looking at me curiously with utterly no interest in going out. I began to accuse him of lying to me.

This morning the light bulb came on. As I stood there lecturing Fraser about calling me in on false pretenses (Crying Wolf and all), I heard the whine coming from behind me on the other side of the screen door. There on the fence post was a mockingbird. She was making the noise, even with a worm hanging out of her mouth!

I don’t know much more than that about the birds, and I have never noticed them nesting near us before. But there are two adults tending the nest, so I’m assuming it’s mommy and daddy. They don’t really mind me, the dog, or the chickens in close proximity, but when a cat is near they send out a really sharp chirp. My cats duck when they hear that noise. I haven’t witnessed it, but I suspect they have been dive-bombed before!

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6 Responses to Mockingbirds

  1. danrshawd says:

    When I was in my young teens over one summer I taught a Mockingbird to say kitty, kitty, kitty. Now I just whistle to them the same tune all summer. We have them nesting in our two Washington Hawthorns. They don’t seem to bother me when I walk by their nests which are about 5 feet from the ground.
    I know a Bluejay will broke no mischief around their nests and they are huge. I’ve seen one take a squirrel out of a try and drop it to the ground.
    I love redbuds but they won’t live in NC. something killed them all.
    For over 12 years the squirrels ignored the bird feeders. Suddenly this year they finally figure them out. I’m starting not to like squirrels. At least they aren’t as bad as the cowbirds around here. They will empty a birdfeeder in a day with 90 percent of it getting sent to the ground.

    • Julie Helms says:

      I had no idea you could intentionally teach the things, just like a parrot! I stopped my bird feeder because of the jays and other big birds making a mess like you said. Most of the seed hits the ground and brings the chickens.

      • danrshaw says:

        They are limited in their learning ability compared to a parrot but if the same thing is repeated enough to them they can pick it up. Mockingbirds can also recognize and remember humans who have threatened their nest in the past. A parrot can learn dozens of words and sounds. Our Quaker has a vocabulary of about 21 words and sounds. She used to be able to whistle the Andy Griffith theme song (about the first 10 seconds of it or so). MY mother in law said “damn it” one time in her presence and she picked it up from that one time. She does do Kitty, Kitty, Kitty also.

  2. authormjlogan says:

    I’ve heard that mockingbirds raised from babies can learn quite a bit. Some friends of mine learned to be careful what their Macaw heard when it began making some very intimate conversation one day – with plenty of guests present. It would also sing along with records it had heard before. Imagine those birds nesting outside your window, then flying over to the neighbors…

  3. Julie, that is hilarious. “meep meep meep” “Hey lady, sign here” will be next. hahaha!

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