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Northern Mockingbird

It's the middle of the night. Who's doing all that singing?

The Northern Mockingbird has a broad repertoire. It can mimic everything from other birds to inanimate objects. And it does so at all hours of the day and night. As poet Randall Jarrell put it: On the willow's highest branch, monopolizing Day and night, cheeping, squeaking, soaring, The mockingbird is imitating life. 

Full Transcript



Northern Mockingbird

Written by Ellen Blackstone

This is BirdNote!

[Song of just one Northern Mockingbird!]

The Northern Mockingbird is a master of mimicry. What’s more, it carries on at all hours of the day and night. [song] Unlike many other birds, the female sings, too. [song]
The poet Randall Jarrell wrote this about a mockingbird:

     All day the mockingbird has owned the yard.
     As light first woke the world,
     the sparrows trooped onto the seedy lawn. [song]
     The mockingbird chased them off shrieking.  [song]
     Hour by hour, fighting hard to make the world his own,
     he swooped on thrushes, thrashers, jays, and chickadees. [song]
     At noon he drove away a big black cat.
           [MerROW by Sparky]

     Now, in the moonlight, he sits here and sings. [song]
     A thrush is singing, then a thrasher, then a jay [Blue Jay] --
     then, all at once, a cat begins meowing.
     A mockingbird can sound like anything. [song]
     He imitates the world he drove away
     so well that, for a minute, in the moonlight …
     Which one's the mockingbird? Which one's the world?” [song]

For BirdNote, I’m Michael Stein.


Bird audio provided by The Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York.  Northern Mockingbird recorded by W.L. Hershberger (85197) CD69T5
Randall Jarrell’s poem excerpted and used here with permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC
Cat “Sparky” by Kessler Productions. 
Producer:  John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2015 Tune In to  April 2015/2019 Narrator: Michael Stein

ID# 041007NOMOKPLU   NOMO-01b

From the complete poems by Randall Jarrell, © 1969 renewed 1997 by Mary Von S. Jarrell. Used by permission of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, LLC, All rights reserved. The right to reproduce or transfer the work via any medium must be secured with Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC.

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