When the Mockingbird Sings

by Stephanie Suesan Smith on June 29, 2010

Mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) range from Canada to South America. They sing a varied song that often mimics the noises in their surroundings. These may even include songs on the radio or musical instruments. The song is a way of both attracting a mate and marking territory for the males. Males have regular routes of travel that include stops at high points to sing their ownership of the territory.

Females can be pretty territorial, too. Anyone who has gotten too close to a Mockingbird nest can attest to the ferocity of the dive bombing they received. I have seen two mockingbirds drive off a much bigger hawk when necessary. This can be a problem when their nest is above or adjacent to the door of a house. Since it is against the law to disturb a next containing eggs or nestlings, that just means you go to another door until the babies are fledged and fly away.

Mockingbird singing on iron work

(c) 2010

Mockingbird with bug in mouth

(c) 2010

I was taking pictures of flowers in the Heritage Garden of Hunt County when I saw this bird with a grasshopper in his mouth stop and sit on this iron work. He sung loudly and allowed me fairly close. Since I was taking pictures of flowers, I had my 50mm lens and close-up lenses, not the 70-200mm lens I needed. Hence the distance – I didn’t want to stress the bird by attempting to get closer. He sung for a few minutes, then left for the next stop on his route.

The garden has a birdbath that is kept clean and filled, some thick shrubs around it, and some bugs, so it would seem to be bird heaven. It does have a lot of humans, though, and is regularly maintained, so may be a bit too busy for nests.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee June 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm

Hi Stephanie,
I found your blog via @growmap (Gail) I really like her social media efforts by the way, anyway the mockingbird post caught my eye. I do not consider myself an avid bird watcher but when I am out and about I do love bird watching. We also have a feeder set up in the yard as well. The mockingbird tho caught my attention because I visit to watch their live wildlife cams. You can see bear, deer, what not, a lot of wildlife including birds of course. Most recently a guy in Calif. had an owl box with mom, pops and 4 owlets… had so much conversation and visitors every night watching the owls grow and begin to fly etc.. great stuff. Anyhow to make a longer story shorter there was a mockingbird that use to appear every morning right after the owls returned to roost and it would mimmick the owlets for a brief time everyday. It was cool! Sorry so long but wanted to share that. Thanks
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Stephanie Suesan Smith June 30, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Glad you liked the post. Sounds like you enjoy watching wildlife, too. I can see a lot out the study window during the day while I am working.
Stephanie Suesan Smith recently posted..Product Review- Corel Paint it-My Profile


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