Tuesday, June 05, 2012

The Word On The Bird

Even though Harper Lee taught me that it is a sin to kill a mockingbird, I want this one dead. Like the proverbial doornail. Over the past week or so, this feathered monstrosity has made it his mission to sit in the trees just behind our house and practice his peculiar abilities. For a while he sounds like a whippoorwill. Then he's a bluebird. Then he's a car alarm. Then he's a car starting up. Then there are long, looping symphonies of original and imitated sounds that stretch from sundown to sunup.
I have become accustomed to sleeping through all manner of urban noise, from the neighbors across the street who keep their reggae raves roaring past midnight or the passing traffic in various levels of urgency and repair. Even the occasional next-door domestic disturbance can be ignored with a shift or a flop of a pillow. I live in a city, after all, not the wilderness. And maybe that's the problem. I've become so unaccustomed to the sounds of the woods that I can scarcely catch a wink between all of nature's wonders: the mockingbird's song.
For the record, I don't sleep through gunshots or earthquakes either, one being a more naturally occurring phenomenon, but I don't know if I will rest easy until this bird has flown. As for Ms. Lee and her admonition about keeping Mimus polyglottos safe and sound, I say this: Taking the Lord's name in vain is a sin, but every time I drop a something heavy on my toe, that's exactly what I do. Time to pack your bags, Mister Mockingbird.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

We have Northern mockingbirds here as well, and I've learned to love them by trying to memorize the song cycle instead of hiding from it. This usually puts me right to sleep, plus it's fun to listen over a week or two as the individual birds try new things and gradually build up their repertoire. (David Attenborough tells me that including more song snippets makes them increasingly attractive.) Also they are one of my favorite birds to watch - they play a mean game of tag, and do a great robot dance when they want to impress girls.
RK

Krs10 said...

They like to perch on the top of the highest tree for their broadcast. And yes, sometimes their dance even includes a flip.

I've been getting through these mornings trying to record his chirps as words. My epic poem, "Mockingbird Filibuster" will be remembered by the ages, and read by those who wish they were asleep...

Hey Dave, we could play the recording from your link really loud to piss him off...

Anonymous said...

I'll be adding "Mockingbird Filibuster" to my list of band names.
RK