31 July 2011

The Mockingbirds

One of my top five books is To Kill a Mockingbird. Atticus Finch is one of my favorite characters of all time. He warns Scout never to kill a mockingbird, and I love the line spoken by Miss Maudie, agreeing with Atticus:
Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.
Based on this, I thought mockingbirds were sweet little songbirds. After all, the lullaby offers to buy a child a mockingbird before a diamond ring. They must be little songsters. Right? Well, if you haven't encountered a mockingbird as an adult, I have a harsh truth. It's all a lie. Mockingbirds don't tweet beautiful songs. They're territorial and loud and mean. Which is probably how they keep birds of prey away.

While we were away for a week, it seems that two (or possibly more) mockingbirds decided that they like our house and trees. They don't, however, like our cat, Persephone. Within an hour of returning home, we witnessed Persephone being chased and pecked by a mean ol' mockingbird. All the while, he was screeching something terrible. The cat wasn't phased. We've been home for several days, and every day has been a repeat. Now, the cat runs from the birds. I'm pretty sure this is why Crickett has been so anxious, as well. They have tried to get her a couple of times. And I'm scared to death that they're going to get me! I take a stick with me every time I go outside.

I do not advocate killing animals, especially for sport. And I don't think I could ever kill an animal. Honestly, I could easily become vegetarian over the thought of killing animals. And I reason with the cat not to kill birds, which are generally her prey of choice. But now? I've approved her taking out these birds. I know, it's bad, but they're terrorizing us. They've also chosen to use our back deck as, seemingly, their bathroom of choice. Guh-ross!

As the state bird of Texas, I'm sure it's illegal to shoot them. Since I wouldn't kill them, anyway, I want options. Unfortunately, options don't seem to exist for these birds of terror. I've researched how to deter them, but there's little that works for these birds. I was set to buy an owl decoy on Amazon that moves with the wind to simulate a real owl. Guess what? Those don't work on them. Neither do rubber snakes. I'm thinking that I'm going to get the water hose ready, and the next time they dive bomb me or the pets, I'll spray water at them. A little water never hurts, right?

Until then, I'll be running from the birds, shooing them with a stick. And cleaning off my back deck.

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