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Archive for June, 2006

Listen to the mockingbird

Sunday afternoon I was making myself a sandwich for lunch when I heard a commotion out in the backyard. A scrub jay screaming and a sharp-sounding "Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!" I carefully peeked out the family room window and spotted Mr. Blue sitting on the fence between my yard and my neighbor’s. The scrub jay was getting buzzed by a mockingbird.

The mocker would fly up to the roof of my house, sit for a moment, then dive straight down at the jay, striking it a glancing blow with its body. It would finish its dive by swooping up and landing on top of the Monterey pine on the other side of my back fence, and then turn around and complete the circuit again by landing on my roof.

This went on for about five minutes. One dive was so violent, the mockingbird almost knocked the jay off the fence. Curiously, it just sat there and screamed back at the mocker. I figured it would go after the mocker and peck its little heart out. Nope.

The jay was bigger than the mocker, but in the wild, it’s the aggressiveness of the animal that counts. If you’ve ever seen a mockingbird working over your cat, you know what I mean. I’ve lost count of the e-mails and letters I’ve received over the years, complaining about those "mean old mockingbirds" that are "hurting my poor kitty and terrifying it to death."

Fact of the matter is, a mockingbird couldn’t physically injure a cat if it tried (and believe me, they do try!).

As I said, it’s the aggressiveness of the bird that counts, and its ability to psych out other animals. Scrub jays are bigger than mockingbirds, and this one in particular, Mr. Blue, had been ruling the neighborhood for the last several years. But for once, it looked like he’d met his match. This mockingbird was totally working over that mean old grumpy scrub jay.

Looks like we have a new "King of Gary’s Backyard."

Posted on Monday, June 5th, 2006
Under: Mockingbird, scrub jay, wild birds | 6 Comments »

Wind turbine response

And another thing … As one of my readers, Ken Dexter of Benicia, said in his e-mail: "The raptors and the wind turbines are on the ridge line for similar reasons. The raptors favor the updrafts that occur there and the turbines want the wind. They are bound to butt heads (and wings, legs … ). You might have guessed by now that I am not in favor of these Cuisinarts of the Sky. I think someone is trying to pull the sheep over our eyes."

Posted on Thursday, June 1st, 2006
Under: Golden eagles, Raptors, Wind Turbines | No Comments »