Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mockingbird Parents Will Share Chores

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Mockingbird Parents Will Share Chores

Article excerpt

Byline: Paula Lamb

I have an active mockingbird nest outside my kitchen window. There are two adult mockingbirds that come and feed the chicks. Is this normal?

Yes, it is. While only the female sits on the eggs prior to hatching, both the male and female actively feed the chicks, keep the nest clean of fecal matter, and defend the nest from predators. The male typically takes more responsibility defending his brood. Both adults are involved in the nest building as well, with the female often perched nearby as a lookout for unwanted guests. As you have observed, the nests are not built up high in trees but lower to the ground - no higher than about 10 feet. The female usually lays 3 to 5 eggs and incubates them for about 2 weeks before they hatch. Once they hatch, the fledglings grow rapidly. If you watch closely, it won't be long before they hop down from their nest and start to test their wings. The parents tend to continue to protect their chicks until they are able to gather food and fly on their own.

What is the name of the insect that looks like a giant mosquito? Does it bite?

I think the critter that you are referring to is the crane fly - and while it resembles a mosquito, it is actually a fly and no, it doesn't bite. Crane flies are attracted to light, so it is common to see them near doorways where lights outside and inside homes are on. There are over four thousand species of crane flies. Some are aquatic while others are terrestrial but most all of them thrive near bodies of water or near damp areas. The larvae of crane flies - whether in the water or on land - feed on decomposing plant material before emerging as adults. While they may look menacing to some, adult crane flies are harmless. Not only do they not bite, they also don't even eat to nourish themselves. Their only purpose is to mate and create the next generation.a

What can you tell me about peacock ginger plants? Someone suggested that they would be a good substitute for hostas that don't perform very well here. …

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