Monday, January 18, 2010


We didn't have resident mockingbirds on the farm when we first moved here, but since we cleared a path for the house in order to move it, an open space has been created that mockingbirds feel comfortable in. I have mixed feelings about their moving in, since their song is so strident, but they are native unlike house sparrows and starlings and I don't have mixed feelings about them at all.

There must be more than one, likely a resident male and female and possibly more, since it seems that every time I turn around a mockingbird is watching me. Here a mockingbird sits on top of the birdhouse that's at the back of the big perennial bed. The birdhouse has been empty for the last two years except for tree frogs; since the house was moved the box is now too far from the forest edge for chickadees to feel safe nesting there.

I am working on getting more cover in the ditch, by planting seedlings of American snowbell and swamp cyrilla on the banks of the ditch. I'm sure the mockingbird would vote for American holly and possumhaw. American holly gets too tall for that location, and so far I have had *no* luck in propagating possumhaw (or any holly, for that matter.) There will be more American beautyberry on the banks of the ditch, and the mockingbird likes that too. I see the mockingbirds and hermit thrushes all of the time in the big beautyberry bushes at the southern end of the big perennial bed and in the Japanese beautyberries near the house.

At this point in time the berries don't look that appetizing, but they are likely sweeter than they were earlier in the year.

Eventually I hope to get more shots of the beautiful hermit thrushes, as they have been spending a lot of time feeding on the beauyberries near the house.


  1. Those are wonderful photos of the mockingbird Sweet Bay. I say be happy he's there. I don't see them around my yard at all. Your garden on the other hand is a dream for all kinds of wildlife. I'd love to see some Hermit Thrush photos ~ hope you're successful at getting some images (something tells me you will be!)

  2. Hello SweetBay,

    I am always so impressed with your bird photos. I have never seen a mockingbird before and now I can say I have seen beautiful pictures of them, thanks to you :-)

  3. Wonderful shots! I especially love photo #4. Mocking birds are our state bird.


  4. I miss the mockingbirds since I've moved up here. Ours had a pretty large repertoire of songs he sang in the backyard every day.

  5. I love your pictures and especially where he's leaning over to get to the berries. I love Callicarpa. Can't wait 'til mine is older and has more berries. Although I had them twice last summer when I first bought it - very young.

  6. Great photos of the mockingbird. I always enjoyed their songs when we lived in the south, although I guess they were a bit loud. Here, the loud one is the meadowlark, but I love their song, too.

  7. I enjoy seeing your photos of birds and also reading about them.
    We don't have mockingbirds here.


  8. Sweet bay, all these photos and talk of birds has me thinking about the old Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds. And you did mention that perhaps the Mockingbirds were "watching" you:)

    Do you think the beautyberries ferment, making an extra special treat for the birds?

    I'm talking silly now.


  9. Hi sweet bay, thank-you, what a wonderful series of shots of your Mockingbirds. I love the colour of the berries with it too… very nice :-D

  10. These birds seem perfectly comfortable living in the city here. I spent the better part of an afternoon last spring listening to two of them bizarrely sing to each other from my front porch. I think they were discussing who had the right to eat the holly berries in my neighbor's yard.

  11. Thank you everyone for your comments!

    Janie, we have Meadowlarks here too, and they're singing already!

    Donna, I have heard of birds (especially Cedar Waxwings) getting drunk from eating very ripe fermented berries. The Mockingbird looks alert and sober for now though. :)

    Les, there was a male who would sing behind our apartment in Chapel Hill that had an imitation of a car alarm in his repertoire. Quite impressive bouncing off the buildings at one in the morning. My husband still talks about that bird. lol

    The bird we hear most often at night here are Yellow-Breasted Chats. Their song is kind of bizarre too!

  12. They can be very noisy and nosy! I do like them though.

  13. I find the Mockingbird has such a personality..they are fun to have in the garden.
    My Callicarpa looks about the same, guess the birds like it slightly rotten.

  14. How lovely it is to see your wonderful photos of the Mockingbird.
    We had a catbird (very similar) that would sit on the grape arbor last summer, watching me and calling to me in its scratchy voice. I loved that little bird. It was such good company :)
    My feelings aren't mixed about starlings and house sparrows either :)
    We were lucky to see a huge hawk sitting on our feeder tray today...just long enough for one quick photo before he took off.
    There are at least 2 terrorizing our poor little feeder birds lately.
    Loved seeing your photos of the NC Botanical Garden. What a gorgeous place! Especially loved the pink bunny rabbits :)

  15. Hi Sweetbay, I love that you think of the birds with your plantings :)

    I have never seen a mockingbird before. Very nice.

  16. As always great photos! We have a bully Mockingbird around our feeder. He chases every other bird away ... I have to chase him away after he feeds a bit so the other birds get some food. He even dive bombs the squirrels! LOL

  17. Hi Sweet Bay! I love the colors in your photographs today... the gray of the Mockingbird and the purple of the Beautyberry is a lovely combination. I especially enjoy the photograph with the bird's eye lit up and looking right at you... or all of the viewers! His tail held up revealing his or hers ? white bloomers. Great shots of your Mockingbird... wonderful light.

  18. Hi Sweetbay~~ Considering the mockingbird is not indigenous to my neck of the world, seeing your photos was a special treat.

  19. Oh what wonderful shots of the mockingbird on the beautyberry, Sweet Bay! We love those birds, they give the most wonderful serenade in the spring time when they are wooing their mate. Ours love to nest in the climbing roses. Killer, the rose Alberic Barbier was their favorite, we felt bad cutting down their familial abode. The canes were filled with years upon years of old nests. But there are plenty of other places for them, just not right outside our window where we could watch the babies fledge, just inches away. Do enjoy them! :-)

  20. Great shots of the birds. I like to provide for them in the way nature does.


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