Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Serenading Mockingbird

The mockingbird who hangs out in the pecan trees near my Lockhart house has been singing his heart out tonight, running through a range of central Texas birds from bluejays to cardinals to crows to hawks to sparrows -- though I have not yet heard him attempt the whining of a paisano or the hooing of an owl. There are no paisanos here in town, so perhaps he's never heard one, but owls come around from time to time.

I can't pick a favorite bird, but there are 4 I especially like: the paisano, aka road runner; the cara cara, aka Mexican eagle; the mocking bird; and the Eastern meadowlark. Eastern meadowlarks don't seem to live in central Texas. I've only ever heard one around here. I remember them from mornings in Houston and Austin County, Texas when I was a kid.

The paisano I like because of its curiosity and entertaining vocals, including its puppy-dog whine.

The crested cara cara I like because it is beautiful when it soars but at the same time very practical and down-to-earth, being quite willing to clean up a mess of carrion when the opportunity arises. Here are some especially lovely photos of crested cara caras: http://www.greglasley.net/caracara.html I would love to paste one in here, but the photographer is a professional who makes a living with his photography. His photos are so beautiful I am tempted to ask for his price.

The mockingbird I like because of its wide range of vocals and its playful and occasionally belligerent personality (which is amusing to see in a small bird but which would be a terrible thing if the bird were 10 times its actual size).

The Eastern meadowlark I like because of its yellow breast (yellow has been my favorite color ever since I was a very small child; probably ever since I was able to distinguish one color from another) and its song, which always spoke to me of hope and joy.

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