Tuesday, May 22, 2007

To Kill A Mockingbird - The Sequel

They're ba-ack! Entirely appropriate in this era of prequels, sequels, and epic extensions (I'm looking at you, Tolkein Jr.), the Mockingbird couple are back and have hatched a new little brat. I'm assuming it is the same couple as last spring that I wrote about Wildlife Habitat application.

I've been spending the late afternoons of the past few days out in the garden trying to get in all the sample/test plants I can and starting to get semi-ready for the Open Garden Summer Solstice Party I'm planning for June 21. That means I've had plenty of interaction time with this ah-hem "charming" couple and their equally "adorable" offspring.

Again this year they have driven off all the squirrels and most other creatures, which is not all bad. But there constant calls at any garden invaders including my cat, Chantilly, and myself is annoying as hell. Yesterday, the young one (pictured here taken through a screen*) went on a hop about. Unfortunately for him/her, it did it when my cat was out sunning herself by me as I planted up petunias.

Chantilly got close enough to smack it about a bit, but it had spirit and fought back, while the parents and a few near sparrows screamed up at storm at the cat. I threw a cup of water on my cat and she ran inside. Next time, I may not be so generous. Actually next time, I may not be around as many neighborhood and stray cats use my pond as a watering hole. If one of them comes along when I'm out and about - it is hasta la vista, baby.

I did a bit of Mockingbird research here and see they are not only not endangered, but may be overpopulated in our region. (Makes me feel a tad less guilty should the baby succumb to Darwinian forces.) I note with great interest this paragraph on the Wild Acres Program, DNR, Wildlife & Heritage Service page:

These birds are highly territorial, especially when nesting and raising their young. It is not unusual for Mockingbirds to chase other birds and peck at pets and people, which venture too close to their young. Remember it is against both state and federal law to harm a Mockingbird. If you are having problems with one attacking you in Maryland, please contact our wildlife damage hotline toll free in the state at 1-877-463-6497.

I called and left a message. I'm really curious to hear what remedies they can possible recommend for these aggressive buggers. They have been going for people's faces which is not at all cool. I'll report back any response I get here.

* Look at that face! Does that look innocent?

UPDATE: The Wildlife folks called me back this morning. As expected the advice was "don't go in that area" or carry a large umbrella. Since that area is on an urban street corner one block from a college and near many businesses, that really is not realistic nor is handing out umbrellas to all passersby. In the good news department, they said just 2 more weeks or so of this.

PS I'm set to be on Channel 4 at 4pm on 5/24 - talking about roses.

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