[va-bird] First Young Mockers in Buchanan

VA Birders,
Until a few years ago Northern Mockingbirds were rarely found in Buchanan 
County, and then it was only an occasional one in winter. Their numbers in the 
area then began to increase and they were observed during the breeding season. 
Members of our bird club believed the birds were nesting here, but no nest has 
been located. During the summer of 2004 two adult birds were observed carrying 
food near Grundy, but the nest was not found.
For the last couple of winters a lone Mocker has spent the winter here on 
Compton Mt, but has left during the spring. This year a bird spent the winter, 
then was observed during the spring with another. The two were chasing a third. 
Shortly after, all three disappeared. Last week I watched an adult bird come to 
my raspberry patch then fly toward the neighbor's pasture, but no nest could be 
found. I had not been seeing adult birds, nor had I been hearing Mockingbird 
songs. No confirmation has ever been found to prove that they are nesting 
within the confines of the county until today. I was walking through the yard 
when I heard a plaintive "peent". Upon investigation I found an adult 
Mockingbird in an apple tree with two fledglings. The young were begging and 
being fed by the adult. I grabbed the camera and took a few photos. This is the 
first record of a successful nesting of this species within the county. As to 
why this species has expanded its range to include heavily forested Buchanan 
County, I will leave to someone with more knowledge than I. The birds are 
numerous in more open Russell County just to our south.Buchanan has fewer open 
fields than it had in the past. Fewer people are clearing areas for gardens and 
pastureland than in the past.  Perhaps someone could speculate.

Enjoy the birds,

Roger Mayhorn
Grundy, VA
Buchanan County 

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