I thought Dad Swainson’s had a cushy job: sitting around and watching the missus incubate the eggs, bringing her some food from time to time, preening, and basically being the king of his territory. Boy was that a misconception! John and I watched a Northern Mockingbird thrash the Swainson’s at Dyess with lightening speed; dive-bombing it, flying sideways, flying backwards, doing maneuvers that would make a hummingbird proud. The Mocker walloped the hawk from the side trying to dislodge the king, but the Swainson’s retaliated with a surprise maneuver of his own.
The background noise consists of a tractor/mower and a B-1, but if the sound is turned up you can hear the mocker’s scolding and the Swainson’s shrill cry of “back-off-buddy or else.” Also heard is John’s rapid-fire click-click-click of the camera. The original video images are much sharper than what you see at Google Video. They had to compress it so as not to take up too much bandwidth. At the next club gathering perhaps I can show the original video if time and interest allows.
If your firewall blocks the video, you can see frame by frame stills of a section of video. In one frame it is apparent the Mockingbird lands on the Swainson’s back and tugs at its feather. I now have a new respect for our state bird and its Texas-sized attitude.
Note: If the video does not play, you can get instructions to download a player from Google
Above photo by John English (c)