Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Mockingbird Serenade

Slamming the front door shut behind me this morning as I left the house in the dark at 4:17 am, I apparently awakened a snoozing Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) in the neighbor’s yard across the street. It burst force in repeated snippets of song; delivered not with the vigorous nonstop style customarily associated with mockingbirds, but in a much more languorous style, with long pauses between phrases. In the several minutes that it took me to clean out a weeks accumulation trash from the back seat of my car, I recognized imitations of the songs or call notes of no fewer than five species, including American Robin, Wood Thrush, Gray Catbird, Blue Jay, and Northern Cardinal. Mockingbirds are noted for their long bouts of night-time singing, but I don’t often have the privilege of hearing mockingbirds sing about the house at any time of day because they are infrequent visitors to the neighborhood.

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