Northern Mockingbird: Bird Symbol of Five States

It is not only a symbol for 5 states (Texas – Mississippi – Arkansas – Tennessee – Florida), but it is also in a book title – To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s said to be a sin to kill one. Quote from the book: “They don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.” Probably the reason the Mockingbird was selected so often as a symbol, is due to its very pretty song and the rare ability to mimic the songs of other birds – even to sing a medley using other bird’s songs. Barking dogs, pianos, and squeaky gates can also be imitated. In spring, only the male sings. He will sing for hours – day and night. Both sexes sing in autumn to claim feeding territories.

This is not one of the colorful species, but quite attractive in spite of it. Its behavior, larger size, white front with a faint pinkish wash on the sides, white wing bars on its gray body, yellow eye ring around its pupil, and long beak; all these traits compensate for the lack of showy colors.

Mockingbirds are very territorial and aggressive against any intruder that gets close to their nest. They will even attack their own reflection. This omnivorous bird requires open grassy areas with thorny bushes to nest in. They will readily come to a water source or to feed – especially fruit or suet.

If one ventures south or southeast, this species can be easily observed. They are very apparent as their habit is to perch in the open on a bush or tree top. Even though they are a plain bird, they don’t seem so to us because they have so much “personality”. We are always excited to see them!

Northern Mockingbird in a tree surrounded by berries

Always obvious

Nighttime in the Woods

Daylight slowly releases its grip 
          And the dark becomes the master.
The woodland visitor now escapes this alien realm 
	To seek the security of his bed,
Whether sleeping bag, or a more protected recluse.
	But when the sun goes down
The creatures of the night venture forth,
	Creeping so quietly and masked in darkness.
Sleep locks the drama safely away,
	But insomnia can at times provide clues
Clues that something is about;
	A scratching, a soft bang, or muted growl;  
Can tempt one to leave that comforting warmth
	To sate newly aroused curiosity.
A rich moment to be captured   
	As flashlight beam reveals pairs of glistening eyes!
Fat, furry bodies or sleek ones with enormous tails,
	Respond with silent retreat only to reappear
As campground attractions prove too irresistible.
	Normal fear is over shadowed by visceral necessity.
I have lived these special moments.
	Though somewhat painful to leave one's bed,
So carefully heated with body warmth and position snugly found,
	The effort well worth the reward.
Moments treasured long after discomfort of rising
	Has been erased when once the deed is done.
Experience with earth's wild creatures:
	A never ending source of excitement and wonder!  

Eyes in the Night