Monday, July 02, 2007

Ask not whom the mockingbird mocks

It's amazing what you discover when you stay home for a few days. For instance, I just realized a mockingbird has built a nest on my porch AND we're expecting quadruplets! I'm so happy! She is the Northern Mockingbird and the nest is hidden -- honest -- in Confederate jasmine, which I think makes my porch the true and long awaited healing place for regional, political and racial tensions. Come on over! This particular bird is not aggressive so you can walk right up to my front door without fear of the Tippi Hedren treatment. Although if the father comes around, all that may change.

Are you like me? Whenever you see a mockingbird, you instantly think of the merry-go-round theme from The Sting? So cheery and upbeat, I never suspected it's a song about a dead girl or that its history is quirky and rich. (You can download a traditional version here but I prefer this performance partly for its priceless introduction but mostly because it's danceable.)

Of course if none of that is to your taste, there's always the Patti Page classic "Mockingbird Hill" (here performed with -- God help us -- Toni Tennille). I feel certain that whoever wrote this song never actually heard a mockingbird's trill. Far from "peace and goodwill," waking up to the sound of a mockingbird's song in fact fills you with an irrepressible urge to yell "shut the hell up!"

But I'd never do that to an expectant mother.

3 comments:

James-H said...

Good thing it isn't a fucking barn swallow.

Make the logo bigger said...

I want you to understand this with the spirit with which it is intended: I too stay home, probably too much, and am currently battling with a nest-building winged creature of death above my second floor window. (There's an overhang near the window, don't ask.)

Four days straight of hosing off the mud and grass pile before it could set up shop with cable, fridge and eggs–I’m not totally heartless–finally resulted in the C.O.D. forced to relocate it's bird condo in the backyard near the shed.

Irene Done said...

When I first noticed the nest, I thought it was a male bird. I was seriously conflicted -- the mockingbird is the Texas state bird so it's against the law to wreck their nests. But. Males sing all night long and they attack anyone who gets near their nests. They're really mean. I was not full of love for all of God's creatures at that point.

Then I realized there were 4 eggs and this bird is the mother. Awwwwww.

Now my hope is that this is a typical Dallas family: the kids will grow up fast, go out on their own and the parents will move to a small retirement village outside of Austin.

And as for the fucking barn swallow: let's see Patti Page sing a song about that.