Yesterday turned out to be an amazing day. Plenty of fun was had paddling on the Tred Avon and catching up with family but then, out of the blue, an old friend flew in for a visit after being MIA for quite a long period of time.
Last winter my mom had to move to my Grandmother's condo while work was being done on her house. During the cold months Oxford can be quiet place to reside. Along the time the doldrums were really starting to take hold a mockingbird began to show up regularly on her balcony railing. Mom started putting out half an apple and some blueberries for this brave bird. Fruit turned out to be the way to this mockingbird's heart. Within the first week of setting out fruit the bird quickly began trusting my mom and would fly to the railing as soon as she stepped out on the balcony.
I came to visit from Chicago shortly after the close interaction between mockingbird and old woman became routine. On the first morning, after setting out a whole plate of blueberries, the bird took to me rather quickly as well. By day two the bird was snatching berries out of my hand. With such a close and rather unusual relationship developing Mom suggested that we come up with a name. Calling the mockingbird 'Bird' at this point seemed too impersonal. Unanimously, meaning Mom, myself, and Gracie back in Chicago, we settled on the cliche Boo. 'Boo' has a nice ring to it whether Boo is a male or female.
Early on Mom thought Boo was a female and I thought he was a male. To settle the matter I called on my friend Jim Brighton who is an avid bird watcher. He told me there was no way to distinguish between the male and female of the species. Google searches offered no help either. I continued talking to and feeding Boo as if he was the man of the Holly tree while Mom maintained her soothing tones and bountiful feasts to prepare Boo for a spring of bringing up babies. Either way Boo was in a win-win situation.
The relationship with Boo kept developing throughout the end of winter and into spring. As the world around us began to fill with color and the chill went out of the air we started leaving the balcony door open. This way Boo could come tell us when it was time to eat. If he didn't see anyone in the kitchen he would fly all the way down the hall to the bedrooms to see if anyone was home and would come fill the plate with blueberries. Boo did not like to be kept waiting.
Another Boo highlight was the time he/she went after a hawk that had landed nearby to take a look and what was hanging around the feeder. Mom said she was very scared that Boo had bitten off more than she could chew but with a relentless series of dive-bombs the hawk flew back to where it came from. This happened deeper into spring. Not only was Boo becoming more aggressive about territory defense, Boo was also gathering berries in his/her bill and taking them back to the nest.
In early summer Boo was seen showing baby Boos how to navigate around the yard. This happened throughout the summer months. Boo seemed to be quite busy in summer 2011 making sure the mockingbird population was well maintained on the northwestern edge of Oxford. Such activity showed up on Boo as well. By August Boo looked worn out and haggard. Visits for blueberries ceased in their regularity compared to what had gone on most of the past several months. Mom had also moved back into her house so my grandmother's place was often vacant. Whenever I was home I would go down and put out some blueberries and a half apple but I didn't spend too much time indoors waiting to see if a mockingbird showed up or not. Dreading the worst we were about to pronounce Boo as deceased. Then came yesterday...
While I cannot confirm if it was good ol' Boo or not this mockingbird had the size and tenacity for blueberries that Boo displayed. The tail of this bird was very long and wide, which was the dead give away for Boo compared to other mockingbirds we saw in the area. Within a minute of putting out a plate of blueberries and an apple this bird was on the balcony eating. I was very excited to just sit back and watch until he/she flew off to let the first course digest. Mom was excited as well to hear that Boo was back. She already thinks it is definitely 'her.'
No matter whether if it is Boo or one of Boo's offspring it is good to have a mockingbird nearby to watch and listen to. I am glad to be back home for a little bit to start another routine. Mom isn't too excited about buying blueberries and apples every other day but experiences like this are just too special to ignore. Boo or Boo Jr. can have my share of blueberries as long as I don't have to share my ice cream.