IF THAT MOCKINGBIRD DON’T SING

When we lived in Boston, a mockingbird used to sit on the rail of our stoop and shout imprecations at the two dogs and the cat, Big Guy. It made them crazy. They wanted that bird so bad.

75-Pagan_PortraitNK-1

One fateful day, I was walking the dogs. Mockingbird was perched on the wire over our head, yelling at us. Then he flew down to the garden, perhaps to refuel with a seed or two. Divot, the Norwich Terrier, lunged into the garden (it was one of those stretchy leads). There was a flutter, another flutter, a chomp, chomp.

Divot emerged from the garden, the mockingbird in her smiling jaws. She passed the bird to her partner, Pagan, the big hairy hound (PBGV or Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) as if they had been practicing for years.

Together, like the thoroughbreds they were, they trotted homeward where Big Guy was clinging to the screen door, apparently aware of all the events that had transpired. Meanwhile, I was trying to wrench the bird from Pagan’s jaws before we went into the house where Big Guy was waiting to get his jaws around the prize.

Garry Kaity Divot RiverBend

Here ye oh Mockingbirds! This is a cautionary tale for mouthy birds. Don’t taunt the dogs. Or the cats. They may be smarter than you think.

32 thoughts on “IF THAT MOCKINGBIRD DON’T SING

  1. Feeling sorry for that chirpy bird. Dogs cannot be blamed fully as they were tempted to do so. The basic instincts cannot be neglected for long. The foolish soul had to pay the price for being over confident.

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  2. We don’t have mockingbirds here in New Zealand. I had a cat once that used to kill birds regularly and somehow managed to sneak them inside. This seemed to happen when I was out. So I used to come home to a trail of bird feathers through the house and one very proud looking cat wanting praise from me. Mice would scare him but he was a great bird catcher – mostly blackbirds.

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    • My Siamese was a big bird slayer. I would find the feet and feathers. I really hated it, but worse was when he brought in a live, terrified bird that would fly madly around the house with me trying to trap it and put it outside. None of the cats has ever shown any interest in mice, but the terriers love killing vermin. They consider it their job and I appreciate it.

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  3. We had a mockingbird just outside my window in Mississippi and it was soooo annoying because they have a wide range of calls and they’re all loud! My cat, Mister, would sit at the window and chitter (you know the noise cats make at birds they can’t reach) at the silly thing for hours. I think a feral cat — there was a whole pride of ’em around campus — finally got this mockingbird because it disappeared one day. Ah blessed relief.

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    • People don’t understand. If they’ve never experienced how annoying a mockingbird can be when he decides to target you or your pets, it’s hard to believe. They are relentless, noisy, and aggressivly obnoxious. No bird ever asked to be killed more than this one did. Stupid bird.

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  4. We have a birddog, a Weimaraner. She is spoiled rotten and a couch potato, a daddy girl who is lazy as she can be, until there is a bird outside. Then her instincts kick in and she points toward the bird, like I would be blind. Occasionally she gets one, brings it to me. The bird is never harmed. Birddogs have soft lips, meaning they transport the birds pulling their lips over the teeth so they don’t harm them. One day she got an Opossum baby, brought it to me and dropped it in front on my feet. The Baby was dead, so I went inside, got a shoebox and scolded the dog. Walked outside with the shoebox, the Opossum was gone. Yep, they play dead, I learned it that day. The dog got a Hamburger steak because I scolded her :-).

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  5. We have a bunny who lives under the bush in front of the house. She makes a habit of sunning herself right outside the front window, where Cody has full view of her but can’t actually get to her. I’d hate to think what would happen if Cody ever managed to sneak out the front door.

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    • I think the dogs would have not been so eager to get that bird had the bird not declared war on the animals in the house. I don’t know if it was a territorial dispute or harsh words had been exchanged involving mothers and combat boots. Whatever it was, there were some strong feelings on both sides. The bird should have stayed on his wire. He was so into taunting the dogs (and cat), he forgot about their teeth.

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  6. So what’s a mockingbird in German? Had a quick look and after consultation with Mr. Swiss came to the conclusion that it is actually a type of thrush (in german known as Sing or Spottdrossel) and we do not have them where we live. I have never actually seen a normal thrush here. Oh and my felines are now jealous and want one as well.

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    • It is the “Spottdrossed” and can be heard in the North of Germany (Ruhrgebiet und in der Umgebung von Bremen). I know that, because I walked to library around 20 years ago. I wanted to know more about the Mockingbird. Although didn’t understand why the book “To kill a Mockinbird” was translated into “Wer die Nachtigal stoert”, because it just didn’t make any sense. Learned about the birds, but never found an explanation for the weird translation.

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      • Danke für die Erklärung. I told Mr. Swiss it says Spottdrossel in Wikipedia, but he is not the birdman of Alcatraz, could not explain more. Good point about the book To kill a Mockinbird, which really has nothing to to with a Nachtigal. Mein deutsch ist hauptsachlich Schweizertütsch nach 48 Jahre hier.

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        • Ach du liebe Guete, Du sprichst Deutsch. Ich bin hier gerade am verzweifeln. Ich suche nach einem Samen fuer Salat und kann es nicht finden. Vermutlich mache ich bei der Uebersetzung fehler. so meine Frage nun, wie wuerdest Du Feldsalat uebersetzen…sorry if it’s a bother.

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          • Das scheint ein Problem zu sein für viele deutschsprechende, die wohnen in ein andere Land. Wir Schweizer sagen “Nusslersalat”. Probiere die Ausdruck “lamb’s lettuce”. Die lateinische Ausdruck wäre Valerianella. Viel Glück. Sonst stehe ich gerne zu Verfügung mit deutsche Probleme, zwar mein schriftliches deutsch ist absolut nicht Fehlerfrei, aber ich verstehe nach 48 Jahren in der Schweiz.

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            • I werde es Dir mitteilen ob ich damit nun Erfolg haben werde. Ich erinnere mich an den Salat und werde versuchen die Samen aufzutreiben, damit es endlich in Ohio Feldsalat gibt LOL. Thank you!

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    • Mockingbirds can sing beautifully, but this one was YELLING at the dogs and cat. It was some kind of feud. Normally, all our animals were locked in the house. The mockingbird would sit on the railing right outside the door and squawk at the dogs and cat. It incited them to … well … kill. They didn’t go after any other birds. Just THAT bird. Foolish bird could have stayed out of the way. He just tempted fate and lost.

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      • Dang, signed in and still lost the comment.
        Yes, much has changed and a great deal in your lives. Garry has blossomed and your tutelage and encouragement has been a big part of that. I believe you have learned to pass on some of your responsibilities…..not so bad, is it? I, an outgoing, always doing something type person, have become basically a hermit on top of Bull Mountain, LOL! Here is hoping we can all help Garry to WANT to write his life story as it will be a real doozie and I, personally cannot wait to read it. Hope you buried the bird or had a cremation or something. Love hearing from you Mar. Hugs to you both……….KEITH

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        • I had to bury the poor bird because our terrier seemed able to find that body no matter how far into the woods I carried it. That little Norwich had a nose like a bloodhound and was a great little hunter. Better than many of the hounds we’ve had.

          As we have gotten older, the number of people with whom we have contact diminishes. I think this happens to everyone, but it is one of the sadder aspects of getting older. It is hard to lose loved ones and friends and harder still to make new friends.

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