Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

March 17, 2010

The Northern Mockingbird... my neighbour!

Who all knows about Mockingbirds? Who all has ever seen a Mockingbird? I never did until last year, and it's the only one I have seen. Funny enough is this one is right around the corner from me.

He lives in the area of Scarlett Rd and St. Clair. He can often be seen sitting on the traffic lights or light standards at the intersection watching the world go by while he sings his song... which is confusing, because as his name goes, he mocks other birds. The day I got these shots (March 16, 2010) he was chattering away like a Starling. A Mockingbird may also pick up other interesting noises (and repeat) in his territory such as car alarms, dog barks, creaky gates, etc.

He seems to be a very content bird. He travels back and forth from the east side to the west side of the street. There are a few coniferous trees about both sides that he flies in and out of. Good thing he wasn't in one when I went to take these photos or I'd probably have none to share. I assume he is so used to people passing him by that he had no issues about giving himself a good cleaning in the late afternoon sun.

When Ang and I first noticed him last year, we were in awe, as we never saw one before. So, on our trips to the grocery store or anywhere having us go through that intersection, we'd look out for him. I'm convinced he has made a couple visits to the backyard, as I know I've seen a Mockingbird here twice. Unfortunately I don't offer much in the way of fruits for the critters and most seeds are not his taste. I guess with all the chatter here it got his curiosity. I have planted some Holly bushes so perhaps he may become more of a regular as the berries grow?

Here's some cool facts about Northern Mockingbirds from

* It’s not just other mockingbirds that appreciate a good song. In the nineteenth century, people kept so many mockingbirds as cage birds that the birds nearly vanished from parts of the East Coast. People took nestlings out of nests or trapped adults and sold them in cities such as Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York, where, in 1828, extraordinary singers could fetch as much as $50.

* Northern Mockingbirds continue to add new sounds to their repertoires throughout their lives. A male may learn around 200 songs throughout its life.

* The Northern Mockingbird frequently gives a "wing flash" display, where it half or fully opens its wings in jerky intermediate steps, showing off the big white patches. No one knows why it does this, but it may startle insects, making them easier to catch. On the other hand, it doesn’t often seem to be successful, and different mockingbird species do this same display even though they don’t have white wing patches.

* Northern Mockingbirds sing all through the day, and often into the night. Most nocturnal singers are unmated males, which sing more than mated males during the day, too. Nighttime singing is more common during the full moon.

* Northern Mockingbirds typically sing from February through August, and again from September to early November. A male may have two distinct repertoires of songs: one for spring and another for fall.

* The female Northern Mockingbird sings too, although usually more quietly than the male does. She rarely sings in the summer, and usually only when the male is away from the territory. She sings more in the fall, perhaps to establish a winter territory.

* The oldest Northern Mockingbird on record was 14 years and 10 months old.


Amanda and Brian said...

interesting information about Mockingbirds, to complement some nice photos. nice post, Rob

socurly said...

I don't think I have ever seen a Mockingbird. Thanks again for the post. I must say thank you. You have made me look up more. I often went through my day without looking up and appreciating what has been in my backyard all along. Life often closes our eyes to nature. Work, school, kids and house can sure take the chirp out of your life. So I'm glad to have met up with you and I look forward to your posts.

Jo-Anne said...

Rob and Angie ... a quick Hi. Life super busy at the moment - out birding! :D

I've been seeing Mockingbirds out here for many years, typically 1 to 3 at Lake A. and 1 or 2 at Lake W.

On a separate note: a couple of days ago, discovered a Raccoon curled up having a nap in a hawk's nest! Hoping to see some hawk babies soon. :D

Rob said...

Brian, next time and any time you come around... bring your camera.

Socurly... thank you! Words like this inspire me. I am happy my words and photos inspire you to look around (and up) and listen.

Jo-Anne, that's just crazy talk! I can't even picture it, Raccoon in a Hawk nest sleeping, but I believe you. Anything can happen out there.

Jo-Anne said...

Rob ... I noticed movement from the hawk's nest and stood there for 20 minutes looking through my binoculars hoping to see something. All of a sudden, a very cute face peeked over the edge - black mask and ringed tail. :) Have been checking the same spot since then but no sign of the Raccoon or any hawks. I'm still wondering if the Raccoon found eggs or just found an empty nest and curled up for a nap?