Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Moxie Mockingbird Enjoys Foul-Weather Friendship

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Moxie Mockingbird Enjoys Foul-Weather Friendship

Article excerpt

Cynthia Knock has a feathered friend with a fondness for peanut butter. "Here Moxie, here Moxie," she calls, as one would a dog. And if she doesn't call Moxie frequently, Moxie may call her.

When Moxie the Mockingbird soars in for a landing on a utility wire near Knock's back door in Webster Groves, Knock deposits a glob of peanut butter on the back porch railing. Then she stands just inside the door, watching.

A few feet away, Moxie lands on the wrought-iron railing. He's a handsome fellow, small, in shades of gray, with black stripes and white patches on his wings. He takes a few dainty pecks of the peanut butter - 20 usually - before flitting off. After he leaves, a pair of starlings move in. They are more bashful than Moxie, so Knock moves away from her door. She shrugs, good naturedly. "Starlings need food too." The next time Knock looks out, there's no trace of the peanut butter. Moxie - named because he has so much of it - is not the first mockingbird that Knock has had this kind of relationship with, she says. He's the latest in a series over the past five or six years. Inexplicably, none came last winter. Then late last fall, Moxie appeared. Knock, a basket weaver, quilter and gardener, lives in a hilltop home on Helfenstein Avenue and Rock Hill Road. She thinks Moxie has another friend whom he visits, because he disappears each day in late morning, reappearing in the early afternoon. He sleeps until past daylight and is available - except for his midday outing - until about half an hour before sundown. He's not likely to show on very windy days. The colder it is, the more frequently he comes, sometimes as often as every 30 or 40 minutes. On very cold days, he'll eat bread crumbs, which otherwise he eschews. Moxie also ignores treats such as raisins, which were favored by his predecessors. On a recent day when the sky was trying to snow, Moxie was in a complete panic, Knock reported, as if he feared that starvation was around the corner. …

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