Master of Mimicry and More, the Marvelous Northern Mockingbird

Blogpost written by PCMN Kathleen McLin, Cohort 3

Morning, noon, and night Northern Mockingbird males serenade us and potential mates with a cache of tunes numbering more than 200. They are often the first bird you hear in the morning and the last one singing at night. They are clever mimics incorporating the songs of other birds, frogs, insects and even machinery in their repertoire. They know so many songs that you’ll hardly ever hear them repeat the same song on the same day.

Happily for us urban dwellers, the Northern Mockingbird has adapted well to city life, perching on top of telephone poles, up high in trees and sitting on fences tail cocked upward, wings dipping in a downward tilt.
Mockingbirds prefer grassy turf over bare desert sand and feed on insects in the Spring and Summer and fruits and berries in the fall and winter months.

The photos above were taken at Mary Meredith K12 where I volunteer in the Kids in Gardens Program along side Jessica Paul Master Naturalist Education and Outreach Manager with Community Gardens of Tucson. As it appeared in the corner of my eye as a flash, this Northern Mockingbird flew inside the grape arbor snd snagged a moth. It allowed me closeup access as I sought to get my camera lens around and past the mass of grape leaves it had disappeared into. This brings up another amazing fact about these birds. They are able to identify individuals and can determine friend from foe. No doubt this Mockingbird has viewed me on a number of occasions, camera slung over my shoulder, taking it’s and other pictures in the garden. Apparently it has given me a no threat okay! Of that I am very glad.

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