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Mockingbird nest study – colored pencil

It’s been fun drawing the handiwork of a mockingbird architect. We take them for granted now, since they are so plentiful, but in the nineteenth century there was a thriving commercial mockingbird trade that nearly resulted in the bird’s disappearance in parts of the United States. Admired for their musical repertoire — a male mockingbird may learn 200 songs during his lifetime — they were popular cage birds, bringing as much as $50 apiece in northeastern cities.

(Although my neighborhood is often awash in mockingbird song, I appreciate these busy birds for another reason: they love the taste of tomato hornworms and patrol my vegetable patch every afternoon.)