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Mockingbird Photo

Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird
Florida's State Bird


Mimus polyglyottos

The Northern Mockingbird's scientific name is "Mimus polyglyottos". The Mockingbird is very famous. It even had a song written about it. "Listen To The Mockingbird" by Richard Milburn in 1855.

The Mockingbird is able to imitate the songs of other birds. This is how it got its name.

DESCRIPTION

The Mockingbird is about 10" tall or just about the same height as an American Robin. It is medium Grey on the back and wings. The breast is very light Grey, almost White. Most outstanding characteristic is the White wing bars displayed when flying. It eats insects, small vertebrates, and fruit.

RANGE

The Mockingbird is a native to the state of Florida, but its range stretches from the Florida Keys to the South to as far North as Canada.

HABITAT

The Mockingbird can be found in suburbs and open land. They are not afraid of people and may even make a nest in a tree in your yard. In fact, they will dive at an unsuspecting dog or cat or even you when you get to close to the nest.

NESTING

The male will begin building the nest in a suitable location such as a lower branch of a tree or within the center of a dense bush or hedge. It makes its nest out of small twigs and other found materials. When he has completed his part of the nest building he invites the female to inspect the nest. If she accepts his nest, then she will finish the nest by lining it with down and other soft materials. Once they have completed the nest building she will lay 3 to 5 small (1" - 24mm), blue-green eggs with brownish markings and the process of attending to the new family begins.

IMPORTANT NOTE

We had a nest somewhere near the house two years ago and found one of the baby birds on the ground. We called the local bird rescue person and she said to just hang a basket from a lower tree limb and put the baby into it. The basket that she suggested was a medium sized "Easter Basket" that was strong enough to resist the weather. We did as suggested and the bird was fine.
The bird rescue lady said that it was a myth that if you touched the bird the parents would not tend it any longer. She pointed out that, if humans touched the bird too much, it could die from fear and stress. Imagine a giant 100 times your size handling you. You'd be very scared too.

Oh, by the way, the Northern Mockingbird is also the state bird of Texas, Mississippi and Arkansas.


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