I wish my pictures were a bit more clear, but I am still fortunate to have came across such a fascinating find as this. Little bits and pieces of this ootheca were flying like saw dust from a chainsaw as he worked fastidiously at getting to those eggs hidden away inside that case. He hung around for 3 minutes or so, just long enough for me to get the right lens on the camera and snap off a few pictures. This is natural pest control at its finest. Even though praying mantids are great at insect control, this particular variety have all but pushed out our native species. So if a few are sacrificed to a hungry winter bird, I say "more power to you little bird".
Pictured to the right is an image of a Chinese Mantid Egg Case (ootheca). If you would like to find one, now is a good time when the leaves are off the trees and shrubs. They are all but impossible to find when the foliage is present. Last spring I had well over 20 of these cases in my yard. This year I only have found around a half dozen or so. Below is one of the big eyed beauties that showed up in our gardens this past season. I am curious to see what this extremely harsh winter weather we are experiencing this year will do to the insect populations.