Some Birds I Have Seen On Our Camden Campus

Pictures taken by LG camera/phone or Panasonic GS15 or GS19

Northern Mockingbird


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Northern Mockingbird
http://www.mbr-pwrc.usgs.gov/id/framlst/i7030id.html

These greet me most mornings in the BSB parking lot. They like yellow raisins.

 
  
Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-15 (2005)

I get whacked by a wing once-in-a-while to make sure I notice them and feed them - this is not an "attack" since there is no vocalization.
They do "yell" if you get too close to the nest but they did let me walk up to it once without a fuss.
They recognize my car and will fly to it when I am parked in different spots.

I sometimes have the raisins in the trunk of my car and the Mockingbird will fly up and sit on the open trunk lid while I get the raisins out.

There are several birds: some are darker than others, I once saw one with a dark spot on its chest and one seemed to have a faint red color on its chest. 

We have fire-thorn bushes lining the parking lot. The birds usually nest in these but have also nested in trees around the parking lot. They eat the berries.

I once saw a flock of robins eating these fire-thorn berries on a November morning.
I had never seen robins eat berries before.

One of the Mockingbirds flew into Curtis's office in BSB through his open window on the first floor.  It stayed for a while and then flew out the same window.

July 22, 2003, I was wing-whacked as I got out of my car today. The lighter colored Mockingbird flew over to my car hit me on the back of my shoulder with its wing. There was no noise. It landed on the fence and waited for me to throw it some yellow raisins.

Here he is sitting on the roof of my car - February 2 and 3 of 2004.  This is the middle of the back parking lot.  That's Jason's car is parked at the end of the lot.

Photos taken with LG camera/phone

On March 18, 2004 I went out the back door of BSB into the parking lot. I was heading for my car to get a book that was in the trunk. The bird was sitting in one of the trees behind the building. I saw him and he obviously saw me. He flew behind me all the way across the parking lot and into the adjacent parking lot (where faculty and staff now park). I was parked in the middle of that parking lot (see above photos- it's a big lot) and he stayed behind me until I got to car. He landed on the fence awaiting raisins. It's like having a pet.

On April 29, 2004, I parked in the usual middle area of the back parking lot. I didn't see the Mockingbird.  I crossed this parking lot and the lot behind BSB without seeing the Mockingbird. I stopped by the short trees next to the back door to look at some sparrows (one was a White Throated Sparrow).  While standing there, I was whacked in the back by the Mockingbird who demanded a tribute of raisins.  Luckily I carry raisins with me to avoid ruffling feathers. 

On May 14, 2004, while walking across the parking lot, one bird flew up and landed on the fence right next to a Robin (they usually chase Robins but not this time).  As I noticed the first bird, a second Mockingbird hit me in the back.  This was not the gentle whoosh of a wing.  This had some force behind it and I thought to my self "What was that."  This second bird landed on the fence, squawked loudly, and held out its wings.  They are getting aggressive and demanding.  I gave them some raisins and they let me pass.  Later that day, while I was walking on the street side of our building, I was whacked four times.  Jason, walking toward me from the opposite direction saw some of the aggressive begging.

May 18, 2004, no birds are seen in the parking lot and whole area is quiet.  Around lunch time I went out the back door and heard the peeping of a baby bird in the tall bush next to the back door.  The sound seemed the same as I had heard on Friday that was the baby Cardinals.  This turned out to be a baby Mockingbird.  The parents were swooping on anything that came near.  A Starling was pounced on for landing nearby.  They let me walk up to the tree.  I also put down some yellow raisins which they fed to the baby ensuring another generation of "pets".  While watching this activity, a smallish bird made the mistake of flying into the bush and was quickly chased off by the Mockingbird.  I couldn't tell what the bird was at first but I noticed a yellow band on it's tail.  The band tells me it was a Cedar Waxwing and the bush it had flown into has berries on it.  It's the same type of bush that I had seen Waxwings eating in before.  There are four of these tall bushes at the back of the building - two on each side of the door.  

May 20, 2004, I got wing whacked crossing the parking lot but this time it's with noise - it's "yelling" at me.  I proceeded to give it some raisins which seemed to make it happy.

Around lunch time, I went out the back door and heard a bird commotion.  I looked over and about one half of a block away I could see the Mockingbird attacking a bird that was sitting on the telephone wires.  The bird looked like a pigeon.  I didn't think the Mockingbird would bother harassing a pigeon but with the baby birds in the area anything is possible.  I walked over to where to commotion was and the bird flew off with an "awk" sound.  I didn't get a good look at it - just a large silver/gray bird.  Then two seconds later a similar bird flew in the same direction and the thought hit me - Peregrine Falcon.  I had heard that they were around.  I've seen news stories about nests in high buildings.

May 21, 2004, I got ignored by the Mockingbird.  It flew right by me.  It's busy defending the bushes behind the building from squirrels.  There were two squirrels, one on either side of the backdoor and the Mockingbird was flying between the bushes defending either the berries that are ripening or her baby birds.

October 22, 2004, I haven't seen them in a while but today two of them sought me out.  I was parked down the end of the lot with no other cars around me and they flew up and landed on the fence.  I, of course, gave them some raisins.  One looks younger - smaller and more color in the feathers and it ate the raisins second.  There were many other birds around at the time - Starlings,  Sparrows, and a Seagull fighting for something in the street.  I also notice a Junco across the street with some sparrows (see pictures on the Main page).  Some of the starlings came up and landed on the fence.  A battle ensued with the Mockingbirds for the raisins.  I took two steps toward the pile of raisins and the Starlings took off while the Mockingbirds just said "thank you" and kept eating.

 
Photo taken with Panasonic GS-15 mini DV in SD mode

On October 29, 2004 while coming into the office, I had an encounter with one of them.  I had not seen them since last Friday.  It's Friday morning again.  I parked in my normal spot near the far end of the parking lot.  No birds are around except for the ever present Starlings.  I walked across both parking lots and as I neared the back door, one of the Mockingbirds flew into a small tree in front of me.  As I passed by, it flew down and gently whacked me in the back.  I ignored it and I received another whack - still gently.  I turned around and the bird was on the ground looking up at me.  I continued walking and it walked behind me just like a pet.  I finally gave it some raisins.  I had the impression it would have followed me into the building.

I have not seen my "pets" for a while or better "we haven't crossed paths".  On December 14, 2004 I ran into one of them near the back door of my building.  It was sitting in a tree and didn't move as I passed by.  Suddenly there was a commotion as a second one flew up - they love to squabble.  I didn't have any raisins with me so I just went into the building.  On the morning of December 17,  the same two are in the same tree and better behaved.  This time I have some raisins and I pour them into a pile on the curb for them.  On December 21, one of them flies halfway across the far parking lot to greet me.  The is no "attack".  It just sits on the fence and waits for me to it some raisins, which I do.  On December 23, as I'm crossing the near parking lot (behind my building), I notice one sitting on the fence midway through the parking lot.  I walk toward it until I'm about three feet away and it doesn't move.  I pour some raisins on the ground and walk away.  The bird comes down and starts eating.  

On January 11, 2005 while walking across the parking lot, I ran into the Mockingbirds.  They have not been encountered yet this year but today as I neared the backdoor I saw one in the tree next to a brick retaining wall.  Also in this tree was a group of Sparrows - four or five.  As I walked along the curb around the wall I again look up but don't see the bird, only the sparrows.  I then get a sense of something coming at me from the left and I turn to see the bird almost at me ear.  No noise from the bird just a "hi, I'm here".  The bird then flies to the top of the wall and stands there.  I have raisins, so I put some on top of the wall.  By this time the second Mockingbird has arrived and landed at the far end of the wall - about eight feet away.  While the first bird is now on a branch about five feet away.   After placing the raisins on top of the wall I move away and the first bird comes down to eat.  The first bird starts squawking at the second and a squabble ensues with the second bird moving past the raisins and knocking some onto the ground.  Next both birds chase off into the bushes.  Leaving behind the raisins which the Sparrows now start to eat on the top of the wall.  Later in the day both Mockingbirds were calmly sitting together in the tree beside the back door.

Staying away from the hawk?  These two were spotted in a tree behind BSB on February 25, 2005.  I saw them as I was getting shots of the hawk.  Keeping a low profile?

Photo taken with Panasonic GS-15 mini DV in SD mode


On Friday April 15, 2005 one flew up onto the fence after I parked.  I threw it some raisins.  It flew down and ate a couple.  It then flew back up on the fence and proceeded to sing.  I was close and it was loud.
Mouse click on picture to see video and hear the songs - left side for Windows Media, right side for Real Player
Click here for song/video in Windows Media Player
Click here for song/video in Real Player
Frame clipped from video Panasonic GS-15 (2005)

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Frame clipped from video Panasonic GS-15 (2005)

On April 7, 2005, I found this Mockingbird in the tall bushes behind BSB.  There was also a Robin and a Junco.  The Mockingbird didn't fly up to me and even after dropping some raisins nearby, it was not interested.  The color seemed lighter and it hit me that this might be a female - the other two Mockingbirds that I have seen around are darker.  This bird was not afraid of me.  Both the Robin and Junco took off while this bird just sat in the bush.  It tolerated me getting some good video of it.  A little later a dark Mockingbird came up to me and demanded raisins - then another dark one came by and started eating raisins.  I was able to get some video of both of these also.  The new shots that are at the top of the Mockingbird section were clipped from this new video.

I located a nest in the front of BSB in a small tree.  I was walking along and a bird hit me from the back on my left elbow.  (Usually it's a "gentle" nudge on the shoulder.)  It then flew into a small pine tree.  I gave it some raisins.  It eat a few and then flew up to it's nest.

I have noticed that the dark gray birds are getting lighter underneath as the spring season moves on.  It may be a first year molting that is occurring.  So I will assume that when I see the dark gray birds, they are full grown youngsters.  They do seem more aggressive and do not sing.  The lighter colored ones sit in the trees and sing.

July 5, 2005 as I was taking a walk at lunch time one of these birds lightly brushed my hand.  This was across the street from BSB parking lot next to a vacant lot with a fence around it.  I was startled for a second and thought "What was that?".  I looked around a saw the bird sitting on the fence next to me.  I gave it some raisins.  What's unusual here is that the Mockingbirds have not been looking for raisins.  The ones I see around BSB are only interested in the Service Berries and ignore me.  I haven't been sought out in a while. 

On July 25, 2005 about lunch time, I was taking a walk over by the tennis courts about two blocks from BSB when one of the Mockingbirds flew up to me.  There was no contact or noise.  He just flew near me and landed on the fence of the tennis court looking at me.  I put some raisins on the ground and he flew down and started eating. 

Mouse click here to here audio file
Frame clipped from video Panasonic GS-15 (2005)

These birds love to sing.  On July 26, 2005 I saw this one in front of BSB and I captured some audio.

On July 28, 2005, after a quick encounter with a couple of Cedar Waxwings, I was walking to my car in the far parking lot behind BSB when the Mockingbird flew up to me and politely requested some raisins.  I stopped and placed some on the ground.  I then moved away and it flew down and ate.  This was at the walkway between the two parking lots behind BSB.  The birds I see on other parts of the campus do not come up to me - the ones around the BSB parking lots are my "pets" (or am I theirs).

 


Click here for MS Windows Media video
Click here for MS Windows Media video Click here for Real Media video
Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-15 (2005)

On August 8, 2005 about 7:30AM, as I was walking across the far parking lot, I heard an unusual bird noise coming from the line of trees that separates the far parking lot from the BSB lot.  I was about midway across when a Mockingbird landed on the fence some distance in front me.  I thought this was odd since usually they will fly up beside me looking for raisins.  This bird only stopped for a instant and then proceeded into the trees where the sound was coming from - I suddenly realized the noise was a "baby" Mockingbird calling for a parent.  I continued on toward the line of trees and when I got near to it the Mockingbird flew onto the fence near me.  Next a second bird landed on the fence close to the first one - it was the baby but about he same size as the parent.  I threw some raisins on the ground but the baby became nervous and flew to the fence across the street.  The parent flew down picked up a raisin and carried it to the baby across the street.  The first baby was quickly joined by another baby and the both started begging the parent for food.  The parent flew back to the fence near me and the babies quickly followed - overcoming their fear.  The parent continued picking up raisins and feeding the babies.   I didn't realize the Mockingbirds were nesting this late in the season.  The images above show the family - the third picture shows a parent between two youngsters with the right side bird holding a raisin in its beak.  The building in the background is a church.

 


Click here for MS Windows Media video
Click here for MS Windows Media video Click here for Real Media video


Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-15 (2005)

Late in the afternoon of August 9, 2005 I went out behind BSB to see if the Goldfinch that I had seen earlier in the day were still in the area.  They were.  While I was there my Mockingbirds came up to me looking for raisins.  The first image is the parent.  The next two show the parent "calling" the youngster.  The last two show the youngster "asking" for food.  The last image shows a Goldfinch behind the fence the Mockingbirds are on.  These images were taken behind the church across from the far BSB parking lot.  The youngster here is the same one shown above with the raisin in its beak.

October 3, 2005, as I was crossing the far parking lot, I heard a Mockingbird on the other block near a tall Holly Tree and the tennis courts.  By the time I got up to the backdoor of BSB a light colored Mockingbird flew up into the Service Berry tree in front of me and politely asked for some raisins - I didn't have any.  I haven't seen these birds for about two months.  I did have some peanuts which I put on the ground and crushed but it was not interested.  He did fly down and check to see what it was though.  The next morning a Mockingbird flew up in front of me again in the same area but this time I did have some raisins which it happily ate. 

October 6, 2005 around lunch time I took a walk over to the tennis courts.  I was looking for the Mockingbird I had heard earlier in the week.  I found what looked like a young bird singing on the top on the fence that surrounds the tennis courts.  I walked closer to it and it didn't takeoff.  The white in its feathers was brilliant which made me think it was a young bird.  It flew across the street onto the fence behind the church.  I put some raisins down on the sidewalk on my side of the street and it came back to eat the raisins.  On the trip back across the street it was followed by two Sparrows (not chased just followed).  I had never seen this type of activity before.  The Sparrows landed next to the raisins but didn't know what to do with them since they are seed eaters normally.  The Mockingbird eat and the Sparrows just watched.  The Mockingbird took off leaving the Sparrow among the uneaten raisins.

October 10, 2005 the young Mockingbird found me at the far end of the parking lot next to the bridge.  I have been parking there for some time but the Mockingbirds have not come up to my car.  I see a lot of Starlings and Sparrows that hang around the old church across the street.  I put down some raisins for the bird and it was a little slow to react.  But finally it came up to the pile of raisons and ate a few.  This is probably the same one from the tennis court area and probably one of the young birds pictured above since those shots were taken on the fence behind the church.
 

 
 Photos taken with Panasonic GS-19 mini DV in SD mode (11/04/2005)

November 4, 2005 while coming into BSB one of these birds flew directly over my head and landed in one of the small trees behind BSB.  It sat there looking at me.  I had some raisons with me and I put a few down on the curb under the tree.  The bird flew down, picked up one and flew back into the tree.  I put down a few more and went into the building.
At lunch time I went out the back door of BSB and the Mockingbird again flew up into the same small tree right next to me.  I gave it some more raisons.

Click here for MS Photostory presentation
Photos taken with Panasonic GS-19 mini DV in SD mode (1/21/2006)

On January 21, 2006 I captured these pictures of a Mockingbird that comes up to me on the west side of BSB.

On February 14, 2006 the Mockingbird was waiting for me at the back door of BSB as I came into work.   It was sitting on the top of a "Reserved Parking" sign.  I walked over to it and it didn't fly away.  I put down some yellow raisons and it flew down and eat a couple.  This is the bird featured on the front page of the Courier-Post's January 26 edition.

On February 16, 2006 the Mockingbird was on the phone lines across the street from the BSB parking lot but didn't come fly down for raisons.  A little ways down the street a Hawk was sitting in a tree.
Around lunch time there were two Mockingbirds in the Parking lot.  One was rather friendly and was squabbling with the other one.  I normally see this type of activity from these birds.  I put some raisons down and the friendly one ate a bunch of them.  I think these are different birds than the one I have been seeing for months on the west side of the building.  It's the first time since last fall that I have seen two at a time and one is a lot friendlier than the one I have been seeing (the one that make the newspaper).

Monday morning February 27, 2006 while walking across the parking lot behind BSB coming into work, the Mockingbird flew into the small tree a beside the street right in front of me.  I stopped and put down some raisons and the bird flew down about four feet from me to eat the raisons.

 

Windows Media Player Format Real Player Format
Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19 (5/11/2006).   Click on the picture to see the video.

On the evening of May 11, 2006 I was near the college center and noticed some Mockingbirds.  One of them came up looking for raisons.  I heard a peeking in the bushes and got some video of this little guy.  The parents tolerated me  being near the baby.  I had noticed that I had not seen the Mockingbird over by BSB so I'm guessing this is the same one I normally feed.  It seems odd that one parent will come up asking for raisons while the other just ignores me.  In previous years, when there have been a pair around, they will both eat raisons but squabble over who should be first.

On the evening of May 15 there were two babies in the same area.  I was one running around under the bushes and I heard the other in some other bushes.

 


 


Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19 (6/22/2006).   Click on the picture to see the video.   Click here for Real Player format.

It's been a few weeks since I have seen any Mockingbirds.  I hear them off in the distance once in a while.  Then around lunch time June 22, 2006 I heard one in the trees between the parking lots behind BSB.  It was singing loudly and with a large number of different songs.  I walked up to it and it ignored me.  It seemed young.  It wasn't as bulky as the older parents.  The white feathers in its tail really stood out (as can be seen in the image above).  I put down some raisons which it ignored and just kept singing.  I walked over to the Campus Quad area and when I came back it was still singing but had moved into a small pine tree by the gym.  It then changed locations a couple times before going back into the trees in the parking lot.  I got some video and a lot of audio.  I then walked back to the BSB building and the bird followed me!  It landed in a small tree in front of me.  I stopped to listen for a few seconds and again put down some raisons which were ignored again.  I then continued toward the building.  The bird continued to follow and flew into one of the Serviceberry Trees next to the door.   It was still singing and I moved to within six feet of it before it flew into another Serviceberry Tree where it continued to sing.

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Finally saw a Mockingbird at BSB.  It's been months since they have been in this area.  This looks like a young one and it was not singing.  I was leaving work about 6:30 on September 12, 2006 and heard this bird on the side of BSB.  I put down some raisons but it was not interested. 

On September 26, 2006 this bird approached me at about 6 PM.  I was looking for the Red-eyed Vireo but it had left the area.  This bird flew into the same Serviceberry tree that I was standing in front of.  I put down some raisons and it took a couple.

While coming into work on September 28, 2006 this bird flew up to me again and tried to land on the trunk of a car that I was approaching.  It was too slippery so it moved to the fence.  It waited there while I put down some raisons.  Some Starlings started to notice and they also flew down.  This is a young Mockingbird and not as aggressive with the Starling as I have seen before.   It also takes off if I move in the frighten the Starlings.   Other Mockingbirds would continue to sit and eat while the Starlings would move off.

Just after parking my car in the far lot of BSB on October 24, 2006, one of the Mockingbirds flew up to me.  I saw it coming from the other parking lot - it flew quite a ways to greet me and look for raisons.  It landed on the fence and I put down some raisons for it as usual.  It flew down and while it was eating a second Mockingbird flew in from the direction of the tennis courts.  This started a squabble.  I think the first bird had intruded on the territory of the second bird.  The second bird had no interest in raisons.  It just wanted the other bird out of its area and chased it toward BSB.  The chase made right turn at the trees that separate the two parking lots.  When I got to the trees I could see the birds still squabbling a short block area.  They were sitting at the top of telephones and would fly up and try to intimidate the other.  The remaining raisins were probably eaten by the Starlings in the area.

On October 26, 2006 after parking my car I saw a Ruby-crowned Kinglet amongst  the Finches near where I park my car.  I walked across both parking lots and as I approached BSB I saw the shadow of my Mockingbird approaching me from behind.  I knew it landed somewhere in front of me but the sun was blinding me as I walked forward.  I finally got into shade of the building and started to look in trees for the Mockingbird but couldn't see it.  Just then a Ruby-crowned Kinglet flew up into the tree in front of me.  And then it flew in front of me toward the west side of BSB.  But I still didn't see the Mockingbird.  I then turned around and the Mockingbird staring up at me - looking for raisons.  I put some down and it proceed to eat a few.

 


 
 

 
Digital images from Panasonic GS-19 (12/29/2006).   Click on the picture to see the MS Photo Story video.  

On December 29, 2006 I stopped in to my office to check on my servers.  As I was going into the building I spotted my Mockingbird and gave it some raisons.  There was some good lighting with the sun at a steep angle.  The bird was excited to see me and/or the raisons.  It moved around in the Serviceberry bush and allowed me to capture these images.

The last two mornings I have been greeted by two Mockingbirds.  On Monday April 23, 2007 the first one walked up to me midway through the far parking lot.  I put down some raisons and it ate a couple.  A few Starlings showed up and started to eat while the Mockingbird backed off.  A second Mockingbird swooped in and scared off the Starlings.  The first bird moved to the fence while the second one ate some raisons.  The first one is darker and duller while the second one is thinner with flashier white feathers.  I haven't seen two eat raisons together for a while.
On Tuesday morning April 24, 2007 a similar thing occurred.   The darker one greeted me and started eating raisons and the second one soon followed.  There wasn't any squabbling between them.

 

During the summer of 2007 I captured some images of young Mockingbirds around the BSB building (west side).


Digital image from Panasonic GS-19 (7/3/2007).   Click on the picture to see the MS Photo Story video.  


Digital image from Panasonic GS-19 (8/17/2007).   Click on the picture to see the MS Photo Story video.  
Here you can see the parent feeding the youngster a yellow raison and telling it where it came from.

 

On March 13, 2008 I captured some video and audio of "my pet" Mockingbird.  While crossing the parking lot coming into work I heard it in the large tree across the street.  I thought I would try to get some audio - this bird hasn't been all that musical.  After singing for a while, it flew down and requested some raisons.  I didn't give it the raisons at first.  I wanted to get some close video.  A Starling came by also looking for raisons. 
 
 

Frames clipped from video Panasonic GS-19 (3/13/2008).   Click on the picture to see the video.

This bird is intimidated by Starlings.  I have never seen that in a Mockingbird. They usually defend the raisons for a while, chasing off poachers but not this bird. 

 

I had recently written that this Mockingbird was not very musical and then a few days later I was able to capture this audio.  Late Thursday afternoon March 27, 2008 while I was walking over to a retirement party for a faculty member, I heard this Mockingbird singing many various songs.  There were many other birds in the area - Finches, Robins, Starlings, and Doves.  But the Mockingbird's tunes overwhelmed everything else even the street noises in the background.  This sound files runs over 4 minutes.  I didn't put up the video because there wasn't anything to see.  The bird was on a roof top out of sight.  Just the songs filtering through the neighborhood.
Mouse click here to enjoy the songs.

 

I may have just witnessed a training exercise.  On Friday July 10, 2009 I went out the back door of BSB and heard Crows cawing.   The Crows are around trying to steal/eat the Mockingbird babies.  The Mockingbirds are usually around "yelling" at the Crows.   The baby Mockingbirds have been out of the nest but still make a demanding sound to be fed.  This sound attracts the Crows who are looking for an easy meal.  But the babies are the same size as the parents now.  I saw a Crow at the top of a tree and the parent Mockingbird was diving on it.  The baby must have been lower in the tree.  The Crow finally got fed up being harassed and took off.  But when it did two Mockingbirds chased it.  One was the juvenile - same size as the parent.  I think the parent was demonstrating what a Mockingbird should do when it sees a Crow around or any other threat.  So now the "baby" is defending the area also.  And will soon be looking for raisons personally instead of having mom and dad bring them.


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Ed McHugh, OIT Camden Computing Service.
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Revised: Tuesday, February 16, 2010

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