Northern Mockingbird (Laura Gooch)
Out in the garden, the cardinal is loudly telling the world who owns this territory. But another distinctive songster is also singing fit to beat the band and as Michael Stein reports in today's Birdnote®, the mockingbird can sound just like the cardinal.
CURWOOD: It's Living on Earth, I'm Steve Curwood.
[BIRD NOTE® THEME ]
CURWOOD: Those of us up in the northern part of North America are starting to think about getting out into our gardens - at last - but already the cardinals are singing loudly outside the windows. And as Michael Stein explains in today's BirdNote®, they're not alone.
The Mockingbird – A Virtuoso of Variety
[NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD SONG]
STEIN: Some birds have a lot to say. But few surpass the Northern Mockingbird.
[SONG OF NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD]
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.
[SONG OF NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD]
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!
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]
And he’s just getting warmed up. [MOCKINGBIRD]
[LONG RUN OF THE SONG OF THE NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD]
Written by Bob Sundstrom
Bird sounds provided by The Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds (ML) at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York. Songs of the Mockingbird  and  and  recorded by W. Hershberger; and  recorded by G.A. Keller.
Producer: John Kessler
Executive Producer: Chris Peterson
© 2014 Tune In to Nature.org March 2014 Narrator: Michael Stein
CURWOOD: For photos of the mockingbird looking like himself, not some other bird, hop on over to our website LOE.org.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Newsletter [Click here]
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary wildlife photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.
Buy a signed copy of Mark Seth Lender's book Smeagull the Seagull & support Living on Earth