A Northern Mockingbird on its favorite perch

Perched on its favorite branch

“There he is! As if he knew we were coming.”  A familiar cry upon spotting 1.7 ounces of feathered, winter-reliability … a bird whose species is known for its never-ending, raucous jabbering, but whom in four years I’ve never heard speak a word.  Head west four miles on Route 125 from Bridport and slip onto Lake Street. Go slowly now as you rise from a tiny stream crossing – keep your eyes on the utility line on the right and look carefully for a grapevine festooned treetop at wire’s height.  Look for his gray breast, in morning tinged with the faintest hint of yellow.  If he’s there, your eyes will meet, his from within a graceful eye-line trace.

He could sit anywhere during these months from October to April, where his home is the farmlands of the Champlain clay-plains   But these months he sits on a front row, balcony seat right above the parade of cars, trucks, tractors, dogs walking owners, and the occasional jogger.  All the while, this supposedly talkative one, sits in silent observation.  Perhaps this parade is his winter sustenance.

I set aside today, a cold winter February 2nd, to write this note.  But I could not begin without first going to see my faithful neighbor … when I arrived, he was indeed sitting well fluffed on his favorite twig facing to the east, the direction of my coming.  Our eyes met briefly as I passed by, and I said a quiet hello to the Mockingbird who has pleasured the heart of many a passerby for the last four years, October though April.  The summers, one hopes, are spent with another of his kind … and several months of jabbering.  But I know not where he goes.

– Ian Worley

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