“If that mocking bird don’t sing…”

This mocking bird does sing!  You might be forgiven for thinking this is a cardinal, but you’d be wrong.  This is a mockingbird, masquerading as a cardinal. 

He’s a cheeky blighter!  As I sit in my chair in the living room, windows open, fresh summer air wafting in, Mr. Cardinal begins his mockingbird impersonation.  I hear his chirping, sounding a bit like the chipmunk who, while cute, is a plague, eating my plants and cherry tomatoes.   Once last summer, I caught him hanging on my tomato plant, having a bit of lunch at my expense!  Brash thing!  We were in agreement, though, about the sweetness of the golden morsels of warm sunshine.

The cardinal’s routine is to perche in a bush just outside my window and call out to let me know he’s there.  I peer out the corner of my eye and see him, cockily looking off to the side, pretending he doesn’t know I’m there.  I decide that today I will get a picture of him, a good, close-up picture, preferably with my iPad camera.  I get up, open my iPad, put in my password, get the camera ready and…zip!  He casually but quickly flies to the bush at the corner of the house, where I can see him but not get a picture without opening the screen and leaning out, a sure way to scare him away.

Later he perches on the fence.  I prepare for another attempt at a pictorial ambush.  I gather my small camera, slip out the front door, silently round the corner.  His bright eye fixes me but he doesn’t leave the fence.  I bring my camera to the ready and…he hops away, leaving me a picture of the fence and some greenery.  We play this game for a time before I manage to get a few shots that I don’t have to delete.  Unfortunately, I haven’t switched the flash on which, as Megan informs me, means that the shutter doesn’t close quickly enough, giving me a bit of the “Monet’s Cardinal” effect to go with “Monet’s Rabbit”, https://sustainabilitea.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/monets-rabbit/.  Mind you, I like the effect, but I was trying for a crisp, clear shot.

No secret that this has become Mr. C’s favorite pastime, the mocking of me (in a completely nonchalant way), because he’s at it quite often.  He generally starts on the fence and when I look out, stays but a minute before flying off, usually to the bush near my chair.  He impudently chirps away and then, when I’m merely thinking of getting the camera,  insouciantly moves to the next level in the game…a change of venue.  Occasionally he allows me to make it almost to the window or to raise my camera while still far away, before casually moving on.  He’s a saucy one, no doubt about it or, as we liked to say when I was growing up, no bout adoubt it.

However, I eventually have the last word, a small but satisfying victory.  I go outside, determined to wait him out.  He alights on the fence, hops about (adding to my trash bin shots) for a few moments before conceding to stay still.  I stand still, resisting the impulse to try to get closer.  I wait.  And then his mate, in her duller plumage, appears and they sit not far apart in the tree behind the fence, she a bit shyly, partially behind a leaf…where I catch them both, just for that brief moment, with no movement of my hands, no mocking movement on their part.  And I’m satisfied.  At least for today.

But I know that game will begin again tomorrow, to the pleasure of us both.

  1. vbholmes says:

    You won! Nice shot of the pair and he gave you a good story–

  2. It took me awhile to spot her, the yellow thing.
    Nice story.

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