I guess everyone in Texas must have a favorite story about our state bird. Not many people who live in the country are neutral about them. They either are quite fond of the little gray and black critters or they call them noisy pests. I’ve seen both sides of the story here above Sulfur Creek.
The peskiest bird I’ve ever seen was a female mockingbird who built her nest in a agarita bush near my neighbor’s house. This lady bird staked out her claim to a pretty large area of the yard including the area surrounding another Mexican persimmon bush not too far from her nest. Well, the north or shady side of that bush had been claimed by the neighbor’s two German shepherds. They liked to cool off in a dirt wallow they had rubbed over two or three summers. The three critters ignored each other until the baby birds began to peek over the edge of the nest. A German shepherd is a fairly bright dog and intelligence generally produces curiosity. One of the dogs made the mistake of investigating too close to the agarita bush. A flash of gray feathers and a screech of bird indignation drove both dogs across the yard. With tails between their legs they took refuge in the garage and for the rest of the summer, neither dog went into that section of the yard.
One fall afternoon, I heard a ruckus in the cedar trees out behind the house. The annual migration of robins was in the area and a flock had decided to feast on the hackberries ripening in my yard. One of our resident mockingbirds had staked out this particular stand of trees as a winter pantry and took exception to the locus like invasion of the robins. He scolded and chased. For most of the day, he would win small victories by driving a few birds temporarily from one tree or another, but it was to no avail. The robins cleaned him out. As the sun was setting, I saw the mockingbird sitting on the hackberry by the window, wings drooping, the very picture of exhausted resignation.
Now the robins cleaned out the cedar berries in the big cedar above Sulfur Creek but that year was a dry year for the visiting robins. Some years are vintage years for the birds, but that’s another story.