Stimulus. Response. Reward. Repeat.
The mockingbird gets excited as I open the back door and approach the shed. Even before I get back inside the house, he’s feasting.
Frigid temperatures and deep snow for weeks at a time likely contribute to this mockingbird’s eagerness to accept my daily food gifts. He consumes the entire 1/4 cup of mealworms throughout the day. When I give him more in the late afternoon, he doesn’t respond immediately the next morning. A full belly reduces motivation, I guess.
When the snow melts and the temperatures rise above freezing, it will be interesting to see if he is still so eager for a breakfast of mealworms. I’ll let you know.
About the Author
Dawn Hewitt is the managing editor for Bird Watcher's Digest and Watching Backyard Birds. She has been watching birds since 1978, and wrote a weekly birding column for The Herald Times, a daily newspaper in Bloomington, Indiana, for 11 years.