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The Mockingbird - A Virtuoso of Variety

Masterful mimicry!

This aptly named Northern Mockingbird might imitate, in succession, birds as different as a bobwhite quail, a chat, a sandpiper — even a cardinal — then cap it off with the meow of a cat and a few phrases of car alarm. In spring, a male mockingbird sings all day, with hundreds of variations — then sings all through the night! Within its range in the United States (which includes most of the country except the northern West and Midwest), you’ll recognize the mockingbird’s song instantly. 

Full Transcript

Transcript: 

BirdNote®  
The Mockingbird’s Prodigious Voice
Written by Bob Sundstrom

This is BirdNote. 

[Song of Northern Mockingbird from ML 94375]

Some birds have a lot to say. But few surpass the Northern Mockingbird. [Song of Northern Mockingbird from ML 118628] 

Within its range in the US, which is most of the country except the northern West and Midwest, you’ll recognize the mockingbird’s song instantly. [Repeat some of ML 94375] 

A very distinctive song, but perhaps not a thing of beauty. But while the mockingbird may not sing beautifully, it’s a virtuoso of variety, persistence, and mimicry. Mockingbirds sing all year — in the breeding season to attract mates, the rest of the year to claim feeding territories. In spring, a male mockingbird sings all day, hundreds of variations — then sings all through the night. [Song of the Northern Mockingbird from ML 94374]

The aptly named mockingbird is also an uncanny mimic. A mockingbird might imitate, in succession, birds as different as a bobwhite quail, a chat, a sandpiper — even a cardinal — then cap it off with meow of a cat and a few phrases of car alarm. [Selection with mimics]

For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.  [Song of the Northern Mockingbird]

###

Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds (ML) at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Songs of the Mockingbird [94375] and [94374] and [85197] recorded by W. Hershberger; and [118628] recorded by G.A. Keller.
BirdNote’s theme music was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson

© 2016 Tune In to Nature.org  March 2014/2016   Narrator: Michael Stein

ID#       NOMO-02b-2014-03-21 NOMO-02b 

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