The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds by Matt Adrian

Books Reviews
The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds by Matt Adrian

For too long we have enjoyed our assumed power over the birds, reducing them to fetish objects of voyeuristic desire. Binoculars in hand, we stalk them in the forest, ignorant of the fact that they are stalking us. The Mincing Mockingbird’s new book documents the dangers we face.

The bird rebellion has begun.

Mr. Mockingbird (Matt Adrian) experienced the unbearable madness of birds at an early age when he witnessed a Boat-tailed Grackle bitch-slap a friend’s father. As a naturalist, Mr. Mockingbird has spent his career speaking truth to power, upsetting bird-watchers everywhere. But a vast right and left wing conspiracy has suppressed his scholarship. Only now has a mainstream publisher dared to take on the ornithology-industrial complex.

In The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds, a pocket-sized compendium of insight into the bird brain’s insatiable id, Mr. Mockingbird has carefully selected an array of avian complaints, insults, threats, rants, taunts and kinky confessions. Those of you who adorn your yards with St. Francis of Assisi concrete birdbaths await a rude awakening.


The owl is outed as a remorseless killer, hell-bent on thrills. Owls, the author reports, can “occasionally be seen running in gangs with escaped circus clowns and goth kids past curfew.” And did you know “a woman was killed by an owl for the crime of having clashing patterns on her outdoor furniture”?

The owl’s lust for blood and depraved sex occasionally leads to its own demise. As Mr. Mockingbird notes, “Their mating is an almost indescribable, difficult experience to observe, with the participants sometimes dying of pleasure.” Remember this fact next time you read Winnie the Pooh—Owl, the scatterbrained, would-be know-it-all, is in fact … a sex addict.


The author excels at this sort of myth busting. The “charming” song of the Grosbeak actually contains a threat of existential proportions: “I’ll even kill your soul.” A cute parrot’s caw conveys shameless misogyny. Says one parrot to the woman foolhardy enough to keep him as a pet: “You’re a whore and that makes me sad.”

Humans speak in this timely book, but only occasionally. We catch one couple mid-scene, wrestling with tragedy: They have accidentally killed a bird by running into it with their car. The bird’s defiant last words haunt the humans: “F—k your windshield.”

Like suicide bombers, the birds in this book remain defiant to the end.


Don’t be fooled by the propaganda of other birding books, such as the Petersen Field Guides. Their quaint “quick recognition system” presents viewers with birds as they seem to be. Mr. Mockingbird peels away the veil, presenting the reader with birds as they are: deranged malefactors ready to unleash “all manner of beaked and flapping hell.” The guide’s abundant illustrations make identifying feathered fiends easy when out and about in the town or country.

Some people disagree with Mr. Mockingbird’s conclusions. Protesters affiliated with the Audubon Society have burned this book and issued death threats against the author for providing readers with inconvenient truths. No doubt the snarky attacks on Mr. Mockingbird’s credibility are part and parcel of the troubled birds’ plans to dominate humankind.

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Let us thank Mr. Mockingbird for providing readers with a wealth of useful knowledge. If we read this book and give copies of it to friends and loved ones, we may yet overcome this latest threat to our survival.

Alice Thisby’s memoir I Ate Sand recounts her 17-day ordeal as a hostage of a militant flock of Yellow-Crowned Night Herons on Sapelo Island.


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