Last Friday, this little guy showed up in a small tree by the window. I knew he was a baby something, but R saw through that streaked breast right away and called him as a baby mockingbird. A few minutes later one of the adults showed up with a bug and fed it to him before flying away.

The young mocker sat in the bush, trying to stay balanced on the thin branches and chirping for another bug. Eventually, he fluttered over to the neighbor’s shrubs, which are thicker and offer better protection since, according to Kent Rylander’s Behavior of Texas Birds, mockingbirds leave the nest a week or so before they can really fly. The adults feed them and watch over them, chasing away jays, cats, and any other predators that may happen by.

Later, when walking the dogs, I saw the adult singing from a nearby tree while eliciting chirps from several sets of nearby bushes.

That afternoon, we watched as a pair of black-crested titmice led a family of newly-fledged youngsters around the yard, showing them where all the feeders are. I suppose it really was independence day.