Monday, May 2, 2011

A ruckus in the neighborhood

Alarm calls and cries during dinner on the porch alerted us to something going on.

The cries and calls continued, and then we saw a pair of brown thrashers, a mockingbird, and a male cardinal mobbing something in the tea olive at the corner of the house.

We dashed out, to discover a large black rat snake high up in the tea olive.

My gardening companion (AKA my husband Tim) used a broom handle to snag the snake and nudge it towards the forest below (and away from whatever nest was in the tea olive).

OK, maybe the snake had already snagged eggs or nestlings, but the birds were so agitated, it was impossible not to intervene.

The thrasher pair kept harassing the snake (which climbed up the old Palownia tree) --uh, we know it's invasive, but it's big enough now to be a major undertaking to remove, and by itself, it doesn't appear to produce offspring.

The mockingbird and cardinal joined in, too.  They weren't happy to have the rat snake in their neighborhood!

5 comments:

  1. Wow- drama. Love the new picture ... so beautiful.

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  2. Lisa,
    A story usually missed by us people. One time this happened here during spring migration and I counted 10 different warblers scolding a rat snake in a tree.!

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  3. OK - once in a while I need to be jolted out of my envy of those who garden in the Carolinas. This will do the trick for a while ;)

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  4. I wish I knew more about mobbing behavior on snakes (and more time to learn about it!)

    It was quite amazing to see the thrasher pair continue to pester the snake as it retreated up the tree.

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  5. High drama in the garden! I've seen smaller birds mob predator bird, but not snakes. Birds 1 Snake 0. Way to go! gail

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