Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Northern Mockingbird in the Chimney

Where did June go? I got next to zero birding in. Mainly just what I saw from the office window. Sigh. Today, though, I got a bit more excitement than I was expecting.

I was sitting at the computer at home and started to hear a bird calling. I thought it was outside. It was loud enough to get my attention. I got up to look out and saw nothing and set back to work. A few minutes later, I heard it again. Still nothing. Then I started to get a memory returning from an incident that happened a while ago. I turned my focus to the wall where the chimney comes down.

The sound came again and this time there was also the unmistakable sounds of fluttering wings. Yep. A bird had found its way down the chimney and was unable to get out. Long ago, the chimney was closed off and a gas heating unit was put in that vented into it. When we added a new AC system, we placed a cover over the vent hole. Good thing about that is that I can remove it and check inside.

First, I grabbed the kids butterfly net and was ready as I removed the cover (after closing all doors to limit a birds flight path). I quickly placed the net over the opening. It fit perfectly and I could see a bird shadow settle into the opening where it sat still. For 15 minutes. I couldn't tell the species yet but it appeared to be a larger bird. My arm was getting tired so I thought I might try to coax it out for a dish of water.

It didn't want to come out but once the net was removed I could tell it was a young Northern Mockingbird. I figured I might have a chance to simply reach in (spiders be damned!) and grab it. Two attempts later and I had the bird in hand. I was also prepared for another activity. I had previously gotten out my bird banding gear and a bag to put the bird into. I banded the Mockingbird and brought it outside for a photo before releasing it.

Northern Mockingbird

You can tell that this is a young Northern Mockingbird by the visible yellow gape on the bill and the cloudy greyish-brown eye.

Last year I blogged about the first time I had to rescue a Carolina Wren from the chimney. Another young bird that found its way in. I was not prepared to band that bird and I regretted not having the foresight that time. I do like to track the birds that come and go. One year I banded a male Carolina Wren when it was young and he has raised a family here in the ensuing years.

Now, lets see what other adventures I can find this Summer!

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