Last Autumn one of the Southern Mockingbirds - I decided she was a girl - struggled with her molt. There she was in Wisteria, featherless around the neck, and shy. Lice, I guessed. As well it was a raucous time in her community because territory was scarce and Mockingbirds plentiful. Fights and flying around, laying blame and yelling at each other. That circus of bad temper and fearfulness that my own species in similar circumstances falls so easily into.
It was around that time too, that Mockingbirds here forgot to sing. There was an occasional vague attempt at an aria, but such was the stress, the storm and angst, that almost everybody came to the conclusion that singing beautiful and lonely from the top of a taller tree, was not the way to resolve the imperative of a territory upon which to feed through winter into spring.
Spring came a little early this year, and I guess Mockingbirds too were surprised by its suddenness. As well, through a warm winter there had been considerable tension. And this year Mockingbirds have been so busy with each other, those moments of yearning and dreaming of others that might once have resulted in a song have all been lost to the fury of property. I can hear it, through morning and afternoon into the evening. I'll call it rage and without happiness, and it's un-resigned, I have decided.
There is one Mockingbird out there, and it's a girl I have decided, that's lost all of her tail feathers except one which is a white feather. It makes her a little clumsy when time comes to land on the electric line. Easy for me to also decide she's the Mockingbird that so struggled with her molt last year. And already she has a child that can hop about and fly into Autumn Olive, where he can stare at me and I can wonder about him.