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Northern Mockingbird

The Northern Mockingbird is a mimic which boasts an impressive vocal repertoire. Males have as many as 150 distinct songs, each phrase of which is repeated 2-6 times each. Songs consist of imitations of other birds, non-bird animals, and mechanical noises. These birds are found in varied habitats, ranging from parks, gardens, and cemeteries in developed areas to areas of regenerating forest. Birds are known to sing long after sunset and more commonly on moonlit nights. These birds build multiple nests during the nesting season and typically rear 2, 
even 3, broods of young each year. Nests are built in trees and shrubs using twigs, grasses, leaves, and human debris (cigarette filters, twine, laundry lint, and more). Many nests go unused. The female incubates eggs and broods hatched young while the male and female both provide food (grasshoppers, spiders, ants, beetles, moths, and sometimes fruit). Males are the primary nest defenders and attack potential predators. Young fledge within 10-12 days after hatching. After leaving the nest they continue to be fed and protected by the parents. Males may feed a brood up to 3 weeks after fledging when another brood is commenced by the female.


Safe Dates: May 15th to August 15th (applicable for only the S or H codes).


Breeding Evidence: Although many breeding behaviors associated with the early part of the nesting season are uncommonly observed in Northern Mockingbirds, their propensity for nest building and raising multiple broods means observing confirming evidence can be fairly easy in this species. If a bird is observed carrying nest building materials such as twigs, grasses, or human debris, use code CN. If a bird is observed engaged in building a nest, use code NB. If an incubating female is found on a nest, use code ON, but do not disturb the nest. If a nest with young is observed or heard (nestlings give a high-pitched “peep”), use code NY, but note that we strongly discourage closely approaching or disturbing nesting birds. For birds observed feeding insects or fruit to their young, use code FY.

Image courtesy of Logan Parker

Audio courtesy of Martin St-Michel.

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