Well, I pretty much speak fluent mockingbird at this point. In late winter, a male mockingbird appeared on a telephone pole in the alley behind our house and started to sing his little heart out – Every.Single.Night. His songs were rapid and varied as he tried to woo potential mates with mimicked melodies of car alarms and curve-billed thrashers at all hours. Sleepless, I started to really, REALLY hope that a female would fall for his charms and luckily enough, one did! I watched as the mockingbird pair built a nest in a citrus tree on the western side of our house. Eventually, I heard peeping cries come from the nest and witnessed opened beaks being fed by the adults. One day, as I was working at my desk, I heard horrific sounds – disturbing screeches that sounded like avian warfare coming from the side of the house. Once I was able to get up from the desk, I looked out the window and saw a tiny, helpless, fuzzy mockingbird on the ground peeping away and staring up at the tree. I ran outside, gently scooped up the bird, and looked up into the nest where one of the adult mockingbirds was along with another baby. In an effort to not lose an eyeball, the best I could do was place the bird on a branch a little bit lower from the nest in the tree. I went inside and started obsessively watching from the window and was thrilled to see the baby making its way up the branches to the nest. However, twenty minutes later I checked and again, the baby was on the ground. So, I ran out, scooped him up and put him back in the tree. Finally, Fred came home and I relayed the drama to him. We both looked out the window and for a third time, the baby was on the ground. Exasperated, I went out and put the baby back on the citrus branches. As I was doing so, Fred pointed out a Cooper’s Hawk lurking in a pine tree from across the street and I then realized what the drama from earlier had been about.
As Fred and I went back into the house, I hoped that at least one of the babies would be spared. When I peered out a while later, I saw only the mama with one baby in the nest – the other one was nowhere to be found. My heart sank. The next day, while sitting at my desk, I looked out the picture window and saw one of the adult mockingbirds on the ledge, endlessly chirping away. When I poked my head outside to get a better look, I saw a fledgling mockingbird hiding in the bushes on our front patio. The mama was looking down at me from the roof and I got the message that she wanted me to scram so, I did. The chirping lasted for several hours and I tried my best to stay away. The next morning, as I’m walking to my car, I hear peeping coming from a Texas Ranger bush on the eastern side of the house and to my complete delight, I saw two fledgling mockingbirds being fed (and guarded) by their parents. The parents had successfully relocated BOTH of them to a densely vegetated area and my heart was happy. They’re thriving now – flying at this point, usually tweeting away, hidden in pineapple guava tree branches within the walled area of our property. Only when I hear a cacophony of simultaneously guttural and high-pitched screeches do I run out of the house, search for the lurking Cooper’s Hawk, put my hands on my hips, glare and tell the raptor to back off and stay away.
This latest fiber piece is a rendition of the fledgling mockingbird. Not only is it needle-felted but the ‘nest’ is nuno-felted (wool and silk) and hand-stitched as a border with some bead and dried flower embellishments.