Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Crows and Mockingbirds

Crows are birds that mock, and they are birds that snatch nestlings. They'll harass a flying Redtail, they'll chase after an Owl, and they do this on the off chance the Redtail or the Owl will drop whatever little bit of meat it might be carrying. It is also the case that Crows are envious of birds that are better built to hunt meat because Crows are aware that robbing a nest of  nestling is cowardly and a long way from dignified. So sometimes this envy bubbles over causing Crows to  mock the Redtail or the Owl just for the hell of it.  And great fun and noise and excitement can be achieved in the community of Crows when a Redtail or an Owl becomes stubborn.

But robbing nests of their nestlings is a sneaky business. You'll see a Mockingbird, with morsel in beak, sit for a while on a high point.  He or she will look around and if he or she thinks something is watching, there will be no flight to the nest and no food for the child.  Nest security is critical. No one is supposed to know where the nest is, unless that someone is deemed harmless, without malice, or possibly dim-witted.  When the Northern Mockingbird's growl is particularly insistent, I find myself following his gaze toward a Crow waddling along the lane. Which means that I have to stand up, find my footwear, my sun wear  and I have to head down the lane, waving the good arm and yelling "chop-chop." When the Crow finally does take to flight, which he is always reluctant to do, the Northern Mockingbird chases after him, in high dudgeon, all the way to the horizon. He probably calls it "team work." I call it "being bossed around."

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