“It’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.” But what if . . .

What if you raze its nest?

Before calling the Audubon Society, hear me out.


Last spring, I watched a pair of Mockingbirds raise a nest full of babies and launch them into the world.


Take this tweet from April 2016:



Watching the last bit, you understand why I wasn’t videoing very close. Mommy or Daddy Mocker came out to kick my interloping tail feathers.

A few weeks after the Mocker fam moved out, I cut down the smilax vine so it would grow back nice and green. Healthy looking. I do this every few years. Only this time when I pulled the brown and crispy vine off the metal frame, the Mocker nest tumbled down too. I considered saving it, but it crumbled in my hands. It had served its purpose.

Or so this bird brain assumed.

After many trips dragging the brown vine to the curb, I sat on the porch surveying the clean, albeit rusty, metal screen. While inspecting scratches my arms and legs received from the thorny vine — low-and-behold —  a mockingbird dived over me and perched on top of the metal frame.

Cack, cack, cack.” Staccato notes erupted from the Mocker as if he spied our cats on the prowl. Then its mate lighted and another hell-and-damn-fire scolding ensued.

Dear God, I tore down their home.

The pair took flight and a much smaller colorful bird — one I’d never seen before or since — landed on the porch railing and started screeching. Screaming. A few moments later, it lighted on the handlebars of a nearby bike — and screamed again.

BEWARE! ON GUARD! Large Destructress wieldeth clippers and hacketh down all our dwellings. Hear ye, hear ye, the end is nigh!

I hung my head and tore at my breast plate. For shame, for shame. After a little googling, I learned mockingbirds use the same next for as many as three clutches each year.

Rat farts upon me!!!

For 12 months every time I saw a mockingbird perched on a wire, a tree, a post — I conjured up my well-honed bird mental telepathy sending I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.

Their stink eye seared into my heart. I deserved every lash, every rip their glares inflicted.

To compound my guilt, thanks to drought and an overzealous yard crew, the smilax screen never grew back.

Until a month or so ago, when the rains started.


The minute a clump of smilax big enough to hold a nest formed,

so did a nest.

God bless ’em.

The Mockers back in the hood.

My husband’s Facebook post:

God is good. But,


My husband got one thing wrong.


Harper, Atticus, Boo and Calpurnia.


They’ve got four eggs not three.

I’m never hacking the smilax down again.

Well, not for a couple of years.

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6 responses to ““It’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.” But what if . . .”

  1. Rhonda Erwin says:

    Good for you! Thanks for the info. The mockingbirds around here keep me awake at night. Do they there? He or she starts about 1 am and continues til the sun comes up. Hence…my FB post today.

  2. jani says:

    Maybe you could hack it in the fall?? idk
    I love this story.

  3. Oh I know you felt terrible! My dad did something similar. It had to do with moving a fern or touching it or watering it and it was a different type of bird- Finches. They abandoned the nest. 🙁 Now they just buy the fern for the birds and if it doesn’t get any rainwater it just doesn’t get watered. You can see it from the kitchen window and it’s very entertaining to watch. It’s starts off with the very big mama bird yelling at the papa bird to hurry up because time is short. Then when all the yelling has ceased, she’s in there sitting on her eggs. Then the next thing you have babies screaming and then watching the last one screaming and afraid to leave the nest. I’ve never been there for the whole process but my mom sends me pictures. I was there one time when pizza was being delivered and I don’t know who the attacker was but one of them ran the pizza guy off the porch. Mom had to go through the garage to meet him.
    Kenya G. Johnson recently posted..Cruisin’ Alaska – Part Three

    • Jamie Miles says:

      That sounds wonderful. This nest is on the porch so we can’t watch all the time, but when the babies arrive you can hear them screaming when the parents bring food back.



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