We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The subject of the study and handsome Mockingbird, whose songs have fooled many a beginner birder, comes up because of this nifty story about one from Attack Machine. They are remarkable mimics.
The Mockingbird, (Mimus polyglottos), once a Southern bird, is now found across the US and into southern Canada. His repertoire of over 200 songs - copies of the songs and calls of other species - caused him once to be caged as the American nightingale.
The family of Mimic Thrushes also includes thrashers and the catbird. All are fond of tangles, shrubs and borders.
Many of our Mockingbirds in New England overwinter here, and occasionally visit the bird feeder, but they do not seem to like seeds very much.
We always get at least one nest of catbirds in or near our yard each year (their close relatives). Even as toddlers, the kids could recognize their weird call. But they had a nasty habit of, as the summer progressed (and we spent more and more time outdoors, with kiddie birthday parties and playdates and cookouts) divebombing us humanoids. Getting more and more oriented to our eyes. The kids learned to mimic characters in "The BIrds" after my calling "cover your eyes". Nasty birds.
They have become more polite, and nest at the fringes of our yard, since we imported a rather ferocious cat. She got one fallen nestling, and afer that I noticed them nesting in the neighbor's bamboo. I wonder if it was simply a particularly ferocious catbird, or if it is characteristic of the breed? Kamikaze Katbird!
The mockingbird is a solo artist deserving of ovation. One perches on a weeping yaupon here and another on a dogwood- they sing their hearts out, and, as far as I’m concerned, the music is as sentimental or danceable as any second or third movement of Grieg and Beethoven.
Brown thrashers are the next beloved in this yard, and child would sing back at them for hours on end during grade-school naturalist days, while memorizing the edible plants of our state in a scientific flora guide and building fairy huts.
Our catbirds are cute little drunkards. They come en masse to strip the Savannah hollies of their fermented berries and then stagger around. Occasionally they fly into the windows, but no fatalities, yet, thank Makemake, except for maybe a besotted sacrifice or two to some sober cats. Between bouts of rolling in the catnip
We live at the intersection of two streets, in a quiet neighborhood. There is a 70 foot blue spruce right in the corner, where for several years a mockingbird would perch at the very top as "King-of-the-Neighborhood."
A couple of summers ago there was a neighbor in need of a brake-job. His brakes would make a "squeel-squeel-squeel" noise everytime he stopped at the corner.
The next summer, we'd wake up every day to the sound of "squeel-squeel-squeel" from the top of the spruce. The bird sounded exactly like those bad brakes.