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Mockingbirds and Their Excellent Mimicry of Sounds
Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos orpheus)
Listen to the Mockingbird
On the last couple of walks that my hubby and I have taken and also when working in our own yard and garden, I have been particularly noticing that the mockingbirds have been really active of late in mimicking other bird songs. It is fun to hear! They will repeat one sound anywhere from 2 to 8 times or so and then shift to another bird sound and do the same thing. Often within a minute or less they will have made the noise of 6 or 8 different birds! They also make other noises like mimicking squeaky gates or even sirens and alarms.
I well remember my Great Uncle Ed sitting in a lawn chair in McAllen, Texas relaxing, and he would purposely make whistling sounds which a mockingbird would repeat! I can still imagine seeing the twinkle in his eye as it amused him so much.
Northern Mockingbird rangemap
Where the Northern Mockingbird Ranges
I do not remember hearing the mockingbird songs in central Wisconsin when we used to live there. The northern mockingbirds do live in our part of Texas year round and can be a delight for the senses.
Looking at the rangemap below, it is no wonder that I never got to hear them when we were living in Wisconsin. Only the very bottom tip of the state could possibly have had some of them visiting in the summer months. That being said...some written reports have mockingbirds visiting as far north as Canada in the summertime.
We lived further north in the state when I was a child living in Oconomowoc and going to school in the small town of Okauchee. When my husband and I lived in central Wisconsin for four years as adults, we lived even further north of that.
Northern Mockingbird Singing
Northern Mockingbird eggs
Do you get to hear the Northern Mockingbirds singing and mimicking other sounds where you live?
Facts regarding the Northern Mockingbird
- These are highly intelligent birds which can mimic many different sounds. While both birds (male and female) sing, it is the male of the species which does most of it whether during courtship or just for the plain joy of making songs which can last all day and into the night.
- As you can see from the photos, their color is mostly gray on top with a whitish underside. Their long black tail has white outer feathers and they also have white wing bars. If you look closely at their eyes you will notice that they are a yellowish orange color with a black band extending back from their black beak towards the eye.
- These birds are monogamous and mate for life which can be around 8 years in the wild. Some people have kept them as pets in which case their life can extend many more years...up to 20 or so.
- One famous person who had a pet mockingbird was past United States President Thomas Jefferson. The name he gave his bird was "Dick."
- A clutch of eggs ranges from 2 to 6 and the eggs as can be seen in this accompanying photo are greenish in color with splotches of a reddish tinged brown.
- Nesting sites are usually shrubs or trees but these mockingbirds will also lay eggs in other birds nests and let those birds feed their young. If the nests are their own, both parents take up the responsibility of feeding their young.
- Northern mockingbirds have a diet that is omnivorous. They dine on insects from butterflies to ants. etc., but also enjoy eating worms, fruits and berries.
The Northern Mockingbird is the State Bird of which of these states?
Northern Mockingbird Night Light
This would be so pretty in a darkened room at night!
Carly Simon and James Taylor performed the song Mockingbird in a concert in New York City in 1979.
You can see images and hear it in the video below.
Are any of you old enough to remember this song or these singers and performers?
Song called Mockingbird
Did you guess correctly which state or states is the State Bird designation for the northern mockingbird?
For those of you who did some guessing on the poll above as to the Northern Mockingbird being the State Bird of which state...here is the answer.
It is the State Bird of every state mentioned above! Obviously whoever the people are who choose such designations...they all became enamored with this bird who so eloquently and very convincingly mimics countless other sounds. The older a bird gets, the more songs are added to its repertoire. The mockingbird obviously has a great memory and likes to show off!
Fascinating look at a pair of mockingbirds incubating their eggs and raising their young to fledgling stage captured on film.
© 2016 Peggy Woods