To Kill A Mocking Bird...
Tonight's picture was taken in July of 2003. Mattie was one year old. Peter snapped this photo of Mattie and me. Mattie was never wild about eating, and forget about sitting in his high chair. He thought the whole notion of being strapped into a chair and asked to eat, as curtailing his freedom and spirit. So to get Mattie to eat, it involved games, toys, and a lot of goofing around. As you can see I was doing all sorts of things and clearly Mattie had a big smile on his face! Once Mattie was distracted and in a good mood, you would be amazed at the amount of food I could get into his mouth! Quote of the day: Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird. ~ Harper Lee
Harper Lee's quote about the mockingbird actually makes me laugh. I am laughing because for the past few weeks Sunny and I have been attacked by mockingbirds. At first I thought it was a fluke, but now I see a pattern. I literally feel like I am living a scene out of Hitchcock's movie, The Birds. I have never been scared of birds before, until these mockingbird encounters. But just like in Hitchcock's movie, I have observed mockingbirds staring at Sunny and I, following us with their eyes, and then dive bomb us, and NIP Sunny's hind legs. Poor Sunny doesn't get what's happening!!! These mockingbird encounters have been bothering me so much that I researched the topic.... Mockingbirds nipping at dogs. The one article I found was from the 1950's, but it was SPOT ON: Hailman wrote an article called, The Mockingbird's "tail up" display to mammals near the nest: https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals /wilson/v075n04/p0414-p0417.pdf
The article says, "The displaying bird orients itself facing the dog and cocks its tail vertically, spreading it slightly so that the white of the outer tail feathers lines the edges of the tail. The body is held nearly horizontally, with the head directed at the dog."
At one time I liked mockingbirds, as they have an amazing vocal repertoire! Now if I see a mockingbird, I usually grab a hold of Sunny and head in a different direction!
This is in essence what I am seeing. Mockingbirds hover overhead, circling near us, as if they will land on my head. They never have, but each time they come and nip Sunny on the leg. The article says.... "In several cases, dogs did approach the nest, and this provoked the birds to attack, even though the dogs showed no overt hostility toward them. In these cases, the Mockingbird usually dived from the rear and slightly to the side of the moving dog and displayed its tail and wings quite prominently in the swoop. Several birds observed swooped to one side of the dog and then the other alternately for as many as eight passes without a break. Occasionally a diving Mockingbird actually struck a dog with its claws."