I actually wrote this last May but for some reason, never posted it.
No time like the present though, right?
With the coming of spring mothers day is every day on a farm and in the wildlife around us.
A little bird saga was going on this weekend and I thought that this winged mothers story was fitting for the day.
I feed my dogs at night. One last time for the day as they basically eat all day long but feeding them at night encourages them to stay close and not roam far away in the fields and woods, following whatever fascinating scents and wild calls they may hear and smell late at night.
When our cat was still alive we had no problem with birds or mice. Since her death at 23 yrs of age (who can blame her?) the mockingbirds have gotten more and more bold.
I know they are the state bird (whose dumb idea was that?) and they are "protected" but after a couple of years of them nesting in our chimney I grew rather disenchanted with the whole process.
I remember it was late one night and the house was quiet when I first heard that strange fluttering sound in the fireplace. Oh look! A baby bird!
I got a lid from a mayonnaise jar, washed it and filled it with water along with a small plate of bread crumbs in the fireplace to feed this little accidental house guest.
Little did I know there was nothing accidental about this. Mockingbirds are the Gambino family of the bird world. They take over. No other birds can stay. They run the place. Once the cat died they were home free in bird speak. They were here to stay....
We (I mean me) fed the little fallen fledgling there in the fireplace, while listening nightly to his brothers and sisters practice flapping their wings somewhere deep within our chimney. After a day or so we took the little feathered thing out of the fireplace. This involved a brave 21 yr old son putting on an oven mitt and diving into the fireplace along with a small degree of fluttering and chirping. Once the gray feathered chirpling was within grasp he was tossed (gently) out the front door near a big bush which he fluttered to. His parents chirped and flew back and forth nearby. A mother and child reunion. So be it. I closed the front door.
Imagine my dismay when it happened again the next year!
I mean I love animals as much as the next guy but give me a break!
We put an iron grate on our chimney top. Problem solved!
They pecked through it (apparently there was one weak spot that rusted) and once again I try to watch TV with the accompanying tempo of the magnificent beat of rehearsing wings in my chimney.
Tonight when I went out to give the dogs their last of the day food, I heard an unusual thing.
The mama mockingbird was perched up in the tree and was pathetically running through some serious stage lines. First she was "dying" with soft little chirps. Then she was singing in a voice like an angel that drew you to her. The beating of wings in the chimney was so strong, gathering momentum so that for the first time I could hear it while standing outside of my house.
She was calling her babies! Oh my!
After a few minutes she changed her song to a soft whimper. The sound that a puppy makes late at night when it is alone.
In a few minutes she was joined by her mate. They both began to make soft whimpering helpless cooing sounds together.
There were answering coos form within the chimney along with much beating of wings.
The babies will fly tonight.
Out of the chimney where they have practiced their stattaco calls on feathered pinions.
Out into the night world of a full moon, a waiting tree
and their mothers voice.