Camouflaged by the glare of the afternoon sun filtering through the tree’s thick foliage, the mockingbirds come, darting in and out of the tree in near kamikaze fashion carrying one at a time in their beaks the twigs that form the foundation of a new roost. With thoughts of young ones driving their actions, they defend their new homestead with frightening vengeance. Interlopers meet with violent rebukes and much fluttering of wings. Having already driven another pair of mockingbirds from the same tree, thereby forcing them to abandon their work only inches from the new lot, this Mr. and Mrs. are to be the permanent residents this spring.
They busy themselves with coming and going all the while building a nest, the future home for a brood yet to come. It takes shape even now, huddled carefully amongst the branches approximately 10 feet above the ground, hidden from all but the most prying of eyes. They greet each other when both are home at the same time, yet they perform much of the work separately with skilled coordination.
The last few weeks have given me the opportunity to watch the home building as the tree in question is right outside my patio (within arm’s reach across the fence) and the nest is viewable from below (looking up from the patio through the tree’s branches). Layer by layer, the nest grew from a simple frame of twigs to a thatched home with increasingly smaller and softer materials. I suspect the move-in date is near given the work that has taken place already.
Hidden deep within the tree’s branches, the nest’s position will likely prohibit me from capturing significant photos, but I will do my best to monitor and document the mockingbird family’s activities, from laying eggs to incubation to birth to development of the young. While I’d love to promise a great story to come, full of beautiful photographs of these majestic birds rearing their family, I have my doubts I’ll be able to see enough to be of interest — but I’ll try.