There sure are a lot of mockingbirds around this year. Even as solitary birds, they seem to flock around my yard. Some mornings I can count four or five on our little half acre, all singing to drown each other out.
Today while I was working on Belly Acre farm (at my Mom’s house, where I grew up), I noticed a mockingbird perched atop the nearest cedar tree, singing his heart out.
Mockingbirds are the 24-hour news services of the bird world. As their name implies they collect the sounds they hear around them (usually the calls of birds, but not always — I heard one when we lived in Atlanta imitating a car alarm). But they aren’t perfect mimics. Instead, they do impressions of the sounds they collect, woven into an almost unbroken string of sounds. I wonder if the other birds complain about the mockingbird’s biases in selecting and repeating their songs?
By paying attention to the local mockingbird’s song, you can figure out what other birds are in the neighborhood. For instance, today my reporter at Belly Acre farm noted that bob whites are around. I haven’t heard a bob white near my house in years, but I trust that my mockingbird did. So bob whites are not extinct at Mom’s house after all.