He would hang around the backyard whenever we were out there. Whether we were cutting the grass, planting something, or just walking around, - he was there. Filling the bird feeders, watering the plants - he was there. Every time we were in the yard there he was. Watching us.

     “There’s Mocky.” or “There’s the Mock.” Marilyn would say. Those were our pet names for the Mockingbird. We enjoyed watching him chase other birds out of his territory. He would claim a particular plant that provided food, such as the Red Twig Dogwood or the Honeysuckle, and defend it from any interlopers.

     The berries on the Dogwood were relished by the neighborhood Robins, but they got very few of them if Ol’ Mocky was around. He chased the Robins clean out of sight.

     Early one morning I was putting some peanut butter out on one of the feeders for the Carolina Wren, one of my favorite birds. The Wren loved peanut butter. As I was putting the peanut butter on the feeder I noticed the Mock watching me from his perch on top of the Wisteria plant. He tilted his head to one side, then the other, paying close attention to what I was doing. I walked back to the porch, watching for the Wren. But the wren didn’t have a chance to sample the peanut butter. By the time I was on the porch the Mockingbird was already eating the peanut butter. I could tell he liked it a lot.

     From then on every time I put out peanut butter the Mockingbird would be the first one to it. Every time I would see him at the feeder I would whistle, just a simple whistle. It was just two notes. A drawn out low note followed by a quick high note, the same whistle every time he came to the feeder. After a few days the bird learned that every time I whistled there would be some food for him. When I whistled Ol’ Mocky would fly to the feeder and wait. As I walked to the feeder with the peanut butter the bird would fly to the Wisteria and wait untill I put out the food and walked away, then he would fly down and enjoy the snack.

     One day I whistled, the same two note whistle, but the Mocking bird didn’t show up, I whistled again as I put his favorite food on the feeder. “Where is he?” I wondered. I whistled again as loud as I could, then started to walk away. I took only one step and then it happened, I was shocked. I was only one step away from the feeder when the Mockingbird flew down to eat the meal. He landed no more than two feet away from me and began eating. He paid no attention to me as I watched him at less than an arms length away. I felt some kind of connection.

     I felt like I had him trained, I would whistle and he would come to the feeder. If I was in the house I would keep an eye out for him. When he landed where I could see him from the sunroom, I would go outside and whistle as I put out the peanut butter. He would be at the feeder as soon as the food was in sight. The bird was smart, he would land in front of the windows so I would see him, then I would take him out his peanut butter. I had him trained! He would perch where I could see him, then he would be fed.

     “I’ve got him trained!” I told Marilyn.

     “No you don’t, he’s got you trained.” she said. “Every time he sits in front of the window you run out and feed him, he has you trained.”

     “What?” I said. “Me trained, you’re crazy.” But I knew that she was right, the bird had trained me. Every time he sat in front of the window I would feed him.

     “And besides,” Marilyn said “Its almost noon, can you make me something to eat?”

     “O.K.” I said.              
      Gosh, I must be easy to train.........