Date: 3/31/17 2:58 pm
From: Bird.fried <bird.fried...>
Subject: [texbirds] Re: Corpus Christi Yard - what the Mockingbird says
Clay,

Thanks for the report. Interesting about the Mockingbirds. Last Saturday, during the TOS clean-up day (great day BTW!) at Magic Ridge, Brent Ortego, Petra Hockey and I were discussing Mockingbird mocks.

The Magic Ridge birds were doing the normal Cardinal, Martin and Wren things. Multiple birds were vocalizing Black Rail which got us all going on multiple occasions. Most interesting to me however were the Cactus Wren vocalizations. I asked Brent and Petra if they had ever seen Cactus Wren at Magic Ridge and neither had, nor in Calhoun County. Of course, it doesn't mean that a Cactus Wren didn't wander through at some point but it's more likely that the Mocker picked-up the call elsewhere.

Brent said that Mockingbirds move around within their range, much like Blue Jays and some other 'resident' passerines. My own anecdotal observations in my patch suggest the same thing; we have few Mockers in Winter and Summer and lots more in Spring. There is some research that says Mockers from northern climes and higher elevations migrate to more hospitable locales during the winter. I suspect more 'migrate', even if for relatively short distances, than just those northern birds.

So, one wonders if your Mockingbirds, those at Magic Ridge, in my patch, etc, are migrating back north or home/here and carrying with them the calls of birds encountered on their recent travels further south. One also wonders if this expanded repertoire makes them more attractive suitors for future mates, and could acquiring this repertoire be a possible reason for their travels. Finally, could this also partially explain why/how Mockingbirds start singing the songs of soon-to-arrive birds, but not-yet-here migrants a week or even a month before those migrants arrive?

There's probably a research paper or two in here somewhere..... Regardless, it's great fun to listen to Mockingbirds do they're thing and attempt to ID their phrases and likely improvisations, and speculate on their origins.

Thanks!
Bob Friedrichs
Palacios

Sent from my iPad

> On Mar 31, 2017, at 3:12 PM, Clay Taylor <Clay.Taylor...> wrote:
>
> Hi all -
> Yep, it's definitely spring, as the Northern Mockingbirds are fighting wars in my yard (at least three males), and singing their brains out. As always, it is WHAT they are singing that gets my attention:
> (the regulars)
> Northern Cardinal
> Carolina Wren
> House Wren
> Black-crested Titmouse snippets
> Various swallows and the Purple Martins
> Green Jay
> Various blackbird and grackle-type sounds
> Also (the less-common and migrants)
> Groove-billed Ani
> Chuck-will's-Widow
> Great-crested Flycatcher
> Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
> Couch's Kingbird
> Eastern Phoebe (and my wintering birds have been gone for weeks!)
> Long-billed Thrasher
> (and then the truly surprising)
> Something that sounds very Quail-like - not entirely sure which one, or WHERE he heard it
> Blue Jay!!! He is doing it PERFECTLY, and often, just to tick me off, as I do not have Blue Jay for the yard list.
> Arrggghhhh......
>
> Oh, yes, the Starling that does the Common Nighthawk call is still here. I was hoping that one of the Cooper's Hawks would catch and eat that bird over the winter, but no such luck.
>
> The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have finally arrived, and are warring throughout the yard. No sign of Buffie.
>
> Saw my FOS Chimney Swift today.
>
> Surprisingly, I did not see any migrating hawks yesterday, and only had a nice adult Swainson's Hawk today.
>
> Also, a lot of butterflies, but very few skippers: Theona Checkerspots, Bordered Patch, Texas, Phaon and Vesta Crescents, Little Yellow, Dainty Sulfur, Common Lyside Sulfur, Large Orange, Common Dogface, Checkered White, Giant and Pipevine Swallowtails, Snout, Rounded Metalmark, Gray and Mallow-scrub Hairsteaks, Funereal Duskywing, Variegated Fritillary, and a bunch of Red Admirals on the Texas Olive, which is finally covered in blossoms after getting whacked by the January freeze.
>
> Come on, warblers!
>
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