Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Bird That's Mocking Me

photo: Creative Commons
For the last couple weeks, there has been a completely demented confused bird outside my window who apparently thinks nighttime is for singing. At 3:00 in the morning, this bird wakes me up with his incessant chirping. As one might imagine, being awoken in the middle of the night puts me in a foul mood. I lie awake concocting sleep-deprived, and slightly maniacal, scenarios of death and destruction to this bird.




via Gfycat

Last night, determined to figure out what kind of devil bird has been waking me up, I spent a ridiculous amount of time on the National Audubon Society site, listening to bird songs and comparing them to the cacophony that interrupts my dreams every night. I listened to, and quickly discarded dozens of bird calls until I happened upon a mockingbird.
"Ah ha!" I shouted to my computer! "I found the culprit! It's a Northern Mockingbird!" 

The Northern Mockingbird's scientific name is mimus polyglottos which means Bird That Sounds Like a Car Alarm. Don't believe me? I found this recording. To get the full effect, I recommend you wait until you're so tired you can't keep your eyes open, then pop in your ear buds, lie down, and enjoy the sound that could only come from a concert featuring car alarms, chainsaws, and Nickelback nature's goodness in the Mockingbird's gentle lullaby as you drift off in peaceful slumber.

Go ahead and listen to it. Then imagine hearing it every. single. night. FOR HOURS! I completely understand why Zooey Deschanel (Failure to Launch) was disappointed that the book To Kill a Mockingbird wasn't a how-to manual!

Apparently, the Northern Mockingbird is the state bird of Florida. (Maybe if more people knew this, fewer people would move here and it wouldn't take me 45 minutes to get to work in traffic! But that's a rant for another day.) And it's protected under the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act so you can't just shoot the thing. Not that I would. But well, I wouldn't judge anyone who wanted to.

All this research on Mockingbirds made me start thinking about that song. Hush little baby, don't say a word. Papa's gonna buy you a Mockingbird. (Why? WHY? Why would anyone ever do anything so cruel to a defenseless little baby?) And if that Mockingbird won't sing (Be VERY thankful!), Papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring. (How 'bout we just skip right ahead to the diamonds, huh?) This song makes NO sense.

Anyway, there are a myriad of ideas on how to deal with these birds that have just surpassed seagulls in my personal list of annoying animals. Get a fake owl, get a fake snake, spray them with water, light off firecrackers . . . Here's the thing though - we have real owls and real snakes around here. No need for fake ones. And I really can't see myself doing anything mean to a bird. Oh, who am I kidding? The real reason I wouldn't grab the Super-Soaker or bottle rockets is because that would mean I'd have to get out of bed in the middle of the night and that's just not happening. Laziness always wins out over annoyance. So for now, I guess I'll just set my phone on my nightstand and have it play rain or ocean sounds all night to help drown out the squawking. But if you hear of someone in central Florida arrested for trying to cut down a tree in her apartment complex at 4:00AM, there's a chance it might be me. Stand by with bail money.


Dianne said...

I am so sorry your sleep is being disturbed but that bird must be in some sort of stress. Birds usually don't make sounds at night. They find a place to roost and just sleep until dawn comes. At least Alabama birds don't sing in the midnight hours. I hope his situation improves so that your situation will improve. However, he has given you something to write about, and I love to read your writings.

BarbaraShowell said...

I work nights, pediatric home healthcare. One of my clients had a mockingbird just outside his window singing ALL NIGHT and still going in the morning as I left for three years. I loved that besotted bird. My client had trouble sleeping and when he woke deep nights Id talk to him about the bird, which I named after him. Apparently, it’s males that sing at night, and only until they find a mate. Hoping yours is more attractive than ours apparently was.

Becky said...

I’ve noticed that birds have a much different idea of “morning” than I do!

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