To Feed a Mockingbird

Another day, another parking lot.lot 010

Now this might not look like a National Park or anything. But I drove into this parking lot in Guilderland, NY the other day, parked, and sat there thinking about nothing in particular for a minute. And in sixty seconds flat I had observed three gray squirrels, a flock of starlings, and a mockingbird.

I’m no great birder, but I’m sure it was a mockingbird—big gray bird, long graceful tail, and a white flash under the wings as it flew into the bushes. Mockingbirds increasingly winter here in New York State, and they love thickets and scrub and berries. They’re pretty quiet in winter, but I hope the mockingbird flies my way again in spring, when their beautiful singing is the reason for the old saying that it’s a sin to kill alot 007 mockingbird.

This snarl of weeds and scrub may not look lovely, but it has potential. True, there’s filth and litter and invasive weeds like oriental bittersweet and garlic mustard.

But there are also several native plants–wild grape vines, pokeweed, and a majestic cottonwood. In the tangle of vines and shrubs, a passing mockingbird can hide out, or spend the night, and maybe find a few dried poke berries or wild grapes. lot 014

By the way, in case you’re wondering about my passion for parking lots, I assure you I don’t spend so much of my time lurking in them by choice. But between an elderly parent and a teenage son, I’m the proud driver of Mom’s Taxi, and I spend many hours waiting in the parking lots of dentists, doctors, physical therapists, and loitering outside the high school gymnasium. So I’ve had plenty of time to ponder the possibilities of these little weedy scraps of nature.

And it occurs to me—what if we cherished such places? What if we nurtured them, cared for them, cleared them of invasive species? What if this little speck of forest was lovingly tended and turned into a mini-bird sanctuary? A monarch butterfly rest stop, a squirrel haven? What if there were thousands of them, all across the United States?

What would that do for mockingbirds? lot 016

About unmowed

I'm a writer and a botanist who loves the weirdly weedy places of the world.
This entry was posted in birds, environment, great ideas, plant parts, seeds, wildlife, winter and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to To Feed a Mockingbird

  1. Sally Reckner says:

    kind of like pocket parks – only wilder.. what a neat idea — a great project for a scout or church group or any nature lovers…hmm….. (I read when I’m the driver/waiter! I am so glad you’re so observant and knowlegeable and creative – this is my favorite blog!)

  2. Jo Ann says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I have to admit I check out parking lots too. I once witnessed two sparrows tumbling over and over on the ground around and under cars in a bitter fight. No one else even noticed this life or death struggle. After several minutes, one flew off and I feared the other was dead, but eventually, the second one emerged from under a car and flew away too.

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