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FOWL OUTLAW GREETS VISITORS AT COURTHOUSE

It may be the state bird, but that doesn't excuse the behavior of an outlaw mockingbird that buzzes visitors to the county courthouse, an attorney says.

"He's the meanest (mockingbird) I've ever seen," Rankin County District Attorney David Clark said. "He's attacked me a couple of times."The diminutive bird recently nested in a bush about 25 feet from the courthouse's main entrance and has been diving down on people walking up to the door. The bird apparently is seeking to protect a newly hatched offspring.

"He went after me a couple of times . . . made me mad," said Don Acord, who makes deliveries to the courthouse.

"I had a big blue bag with me, and all I could do was swing that bag. Let me tell you, it's a scary feeling when they're after you like that."

Aggressive behavior is typical this time of year as mockingbird eggs hatch, said Jim Lipe, district biologist for the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

Employees in the Rankin County Circuit Clerk's office, which overlooks the courthouse's front yard, said they've seen several people attacked this week.