Every afternoon I sit on my patio, pour my tall glass of iced tea, reach for my Zapp's chips and I wait for the show. The show is better than any reality show that Hollywood could create. It's a show that has its plot built on generations of disagreements. Now, I have learned that mankind may have played a part in this Mother Nature produced extravaganza.

The show I am talking about is the daily battle and shouting match between a mother Mockingbird and a group of squirrels that both want to call the lone tree in my backyard home. I am guessing both animals must have young ones in the nest that's why their so vehement and vocal in their efforts to get the other to leave but there could be another reason.

Researchers at Tulane University in New Orleans are probing the question of how higher lead content affects the attitude of birds. The hypothesis is that increased levels of lead ingested from the surrounding environment are making Mockingbirds more aggressive.

My home is less than a quarter of a mile away from a major drainage coulee and perhaps that ditch has carried polluted water between and over its banks in the recent past. I don't know for sure but I do know that Mockingbird will come after a squirrel, my dog, even me if I get too close to the tree that houses her nest.

I will be anxious to see what the Tulane researchers find out. Meanwhile, I will continue to watch the show from the patio while wearing my bike safety helmet just in case.