Perch Report – Spring Valley, Nev.
It’s no biggie to see Northern mockingbirds since they’re so common in Southern Nevada, but over the past few days, I’ve had the pleasure of watching an adult feed its three fledglings in my yard.
It has been tirelessly zipping around each day in the hopes of finding insects to pluck from the soil or from flight and place into the beaks of its young. Meanwhile, as they await their food, the juveniles struggle to keep their balance while perching on palm fronds and twigs, often flapping their wings and shuffling their feet as if newbie skaters on an ice rink.
As you can see from the pic at right, they are about the size of chicks and have wide bills, giving them a countenance of disgruntlement evoking Edward G. Robertson. (Yeah, see?) They also have short, stubby tail feathers, in comparison to the long, expressive tails on adults. The movement and shape of that adult tail, by the way, is one of the main ways you can identify a Northern mockingbird from a long distance or with the naked eye without seeing any other physical details.
(Adult pic at left from National Audubon Society, and fledgling pic from unknown source)