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Northern Mockingbird

12-3-12 northern mockingbird IMG_7435If you lived in New England in the early 1800’s, the sight and sound of a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) would not be familiar to you. In the mid to late-1800’s they began extending their range northward in eastern North America to the point where they are now year round residents throughout New England. This range expansion is largely attributable to changes in habitat (more fields and shrubby areas), as well as the demise of the practice of capturing mockingbirds for the pet trade. However, during the last 25 years Vermont has experienced a 26% decline in breeding mockingbirds, due largely to diminishing habitat, according to the Vermont Center for Ecostudies’ 2nd Breeding Bird Atlas.The Northern Mockingbird is known for its ability to mimic other birds’ songs (a male’s repertoire often contains more than 150 songs, which changes and can increase as the bird ages). In the spring and fall, if you hear a bird singing at night, especially during a full moon, it is often an unmated male mockingbird. At this time of year, you’re more likely to see, not hear, a Northern Mockingbird.

8 responses

  1. Mike Choukas

    Until the 1950’s they were unkown in NH and VT. They expanded north along with the cardinals and titmice. For the past five or so years one is frequently seen on Rte 12A (the strip) in West Lebanon.

    Mike Choukas

    December 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm

  2. Meade Cadot

    It’s also been proposed in the lit. that the expansion followed the spread of multiflora rose!

    _____

    From: Naturally Curious with Mary Holland [mailto:comment-reply@wordpress.com] Sent: Monday, December 03, 2012 9:08 AM To: cadot@harriscenter.org Subject: [New post] Northern Mockingbird

    Mary Holland posted: “If you lived in New England in the early 1800’s, the sight and sound of a Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) would not be familiar to you. In the mid to late-1800’s they began extending their range northward in eastern North America to the poin”

    December 3, 2012 at 8:36 pm

  3. Dede Heath

    In western Massachusetts we had a mocker who’d sit on a dead ash branch & do somersaults without a break in his singing. Then it seemed that a catbird replaced him. Finally, we moved to Maine, where we live in a wooded area by a pond, and nary a mockingbird do we see or hear. We miss them.
    Dede & Ken, Maine

    December 4, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    • I would love to have seen the antics of the mockingbird!

      December 4, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    • This sounds quite charming, I would have loved to have seen the antics of this particular bird! 🙂

      January 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm

  4. Any idea what happened to all of our Mocking birds? I live in Franklin, MA and when we first moved here the last week of 1982 it wasn’t that cold and they were still around. They were around all year long here, I used to love to hear them make all their various calls imitating all the other local birds. However in the last (5) years they have totally disappeared, we have not seen any at all, never. They seem to be permanently gone from this area. No explanation was available from Stony Brook Nature Center in Norfolk, MA.

    December 8, 2012 at 4:10 pm

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