Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)

I first noticed her late one afternoon when I arrived home. She was sitting on Japanese Honeysuckle vines that had grown over a pile of bricks. It was blowing a gale but there she was, basking in the later afternoon sun. She was puffed up to increase the insulating effect of her feathers.

I was surprised that she didn’t fly off. I was able to back the car up and pull a little closer, wind the window down, and take these initial pictures. I parked the car and, camera in hand, slowly walked towards her. I got within about 6-7 meters before she became quite nervous. Instead of flying off, she hopped down into the tussle of vines and hid.

A little later she was up on the vines again. So I pushed my luck. I circled around and approached again by walking up behind the tractor which was parked quite close to where she was sitting. I got within 5 meters this time. Finally, however, she thought this intrusion into her space was too much.

She flew off. But not away from where she was sitting but up into the Pecan tree under which I was standing. She hopped from branch to branch, watching me.

A few days later I saw her again. She was sitting in the sun again probably listening to the male which had perched in a tree about 20 meters away and was singing his little heart out.

Then she paid me what I consider to be a high compliment from a bird. She became so unconcerned about my presence that she proceeded to groom and ignore me completely.
Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resource:
- The Cornell Institute of Ornithology: Northern Mockingbird (
Mimus polyglottos)

4 comments:

outwalkingthedog said...

Living in New York City, I miss the resident mockingbirds that used to sing outside my home in Dallas, Texas. They are everywhere in Dallas! We certainly have them here, but in much fewer numbers. Amazing birds!

Joy K. said...

I love watching the males singing from the very top of the highest point around, then fly up even higher, still singing.

JSK said...

Hi Melissa.
I lived in Silver Spring, MD many years ago. It was the first time I saw a Mockingbird. He was sitting on the edge of the roof of our apartment building. He sang, literally, for 3-4 hours. After an hour or so, people started gathering in the parking lot to watch and listen.
We're a little too blase about them down here.

JSK said...

Hi Joy
I never did see where the male was but he did sound high up.