Saturday, May 21, 2011

To Kill A Mockingbird

The book and movie To Kill a Mockingbird  presents the unfairness and cruelty of life. This morning the mockingbirds were screaming: Snake, snake, snake! Most birds were high in the trees. Then I noticed a pair scolding and fluttering around a rose bush. As I went closer, I saw that the rose trunk was wider than normal. There was a rat snake draped along it, bracing himself by his tail with his head up in a nest.

video
Video lasts just under a minute.
By the time I returned with a camera, most of the birds had quieted. The parents are still fluttering and scolding. 


video
This shorter vid is only 24 seconds.
If you load slowly, you might look at the second, shorter one which has a good view of the snake and the bird parents vainly trying to scare him away.


One of the mockingbirds hovers over the nest, scolding.

Brave bird is no match for a determined serpent.

You can see big thorns on the rose canes that the snake ignored to reach his prize.



I don't know if the nest held eggs, or baby birds. This was the first time that I knew there was a nest.

"Mockingbirds don't do one thing but make music for us to enjoy... but sing their hearts out for us. That's why it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
- Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

20 comments:

  1. Oh, poor birds! Snakes can't hear... Are you afraid of snakes? I have only small garden snakes, and every time I see one, I leave my garden for some time til it hides again. I try to think that they eat slugs, so they are good for the garden. I am not sure I wouls feel comfortable with ýour' snake. You should be a brave person!

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  2. I don't scream, run or grab a hoe and hack a non-poisonous snake to death, Tatyana. I was annoyed with this one for eating birds, but I was not about to wade into the thorns of Carefree Delight to try to discourage him after it was too late to save the babies/eggs. It pained me to see the frantic parents. One even came back after the snake was gone, checking. I'm sure these mockingbirds have eaten their share of my butterflies, too. It's all part of the plan, as unfair as it seems.

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  3. How sad for the mockingbird parents. It won't always be like this. The lion will lay down with the lamb one day. Until then we live and learn to deal with daily happenings.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

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  4. I'm sorry for the mockingbird nest eggs/hatchlings, but nature is cruel, and even serpents have to eat. It's early enough in the season that the mockingbirds may be able to try again. I'm really impressed with your photos and video. A spectacular capture of the realities of nature in the raw! Something we see here often with predators here. Well, not snakes in nests (which I've never seen), but the edgy side of Nature.

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  5. Its very sad for the birds if the snake got their eggs or young. But your photographs of the birds are fabulous!!

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  6. NeilJean,

    I too found a rat snake in our bluebird box this morning, it was a small one. I saw its little head sticking out of the hole. I believe the bluebirds left the box as there was no ruckus.

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  7. You got some great photos and video of the drama in your yard. Nature is pretty amazing, even if a little cruel sometimes.

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  8. Wow, amazing that you caught all this on film! My heart breaks for the baby birds...nature can be beautiful and cruel. We have a small goldfish pond in our backyard and birds sometimes come to drink. Once I stopped to watch a mama cardinal and her baby come to drink from it, and suddenly a squirrel scuttled by and scared the baby, who fell into the pond. That, in turn, must have scared the big toad in the water, which pulled the baby bird down and drowned it. It happened in a matter of seconds, and it was quite startling and sad to watch, especially when the mama cardinal kept coming back to look for the baby. I couldn't do anything, except clean up the remains and curse the squirrels. Sorry for the long post...hope the rest of your weekend in the garden is peaceful!

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  9. Really griping depiction. The images and video told a great story, but not for the nestlings I guess.

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  10. Goodness what a large snake! I didn't realize you had such large serpents in your area. While we don't have snakes like that the crows are doing their damage on the bird nests. Twice this week I've seen them attack nests. I managed to scare one crow away from the bluejays but once they know where the nest is it's impossible to keep them away.

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  11. Wow, mockingbirds are fierce, the snake was pretty tough. Or hungry. Awesome pictures!

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  12. we have garter snakes that hang around our pond for the tadpoles and smaller frogs..they are good for the garden but if they end up in the filter we move them to the wild pond behind our house...poor birds

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  13. Well, I guess the snake has to eat. Although you can't help but feel sorry for the parent birds. Amazing photography.

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  14. One of my favorite books and even named my little girl (who is 3) Scout! Awesome up close pics of the Mockingbirds, nasty snake..shoo him away!

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  15. We had the same thing happen here last week, but my husband was able to remove the black snake. At least one of the babies is now learning to fly, having lived safely on the ground and in our willow tree. We think 2 of the 3 babies are okay.

    It's what happens in nature, but since our mockingbird female is somewhat of an outdoor pet (follows me around the garden, to the mailbox and around the neighborhood on my walks), we decided to help out.

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  16. Haven't seen a Mockingbird since winter. Great captures !!

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  17. I haven't seen rat snakes here but we usually have blacksnakes in abundance.
    I haven't seen one this year....yet.

    I found a completely desiccated one in my garden shed one year. I think it choked on a redbird because there was a pile of red feathers under the carcass of the snake.

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  18. You are getting very good with those videos, Nell.

    It is against the law to kill a Mockingbird here in Texas. It is our state bird.

    Sometimes it is hard to watch nature.

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  19. Great shots, I have never seen the Mocking birds before. So glad I dropped by.

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  20. If we didn't have snakes we would be overrun with rodents and bugs but I would still be heartbroken to know a snake attacked a nest. Do you think the birds will start over or are they done for the season?

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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