Date: 7/9/18 6:47 am
From: Glenn <000001214b3fcb01-dmarc-request...>
Subject: A question of mockingbirds
We have a lot of mockingbirds around our house, as I’m sure just about anybody who lives in Arkansas does.  I enjoy listening to their singing.  Most of the time their songs do not sound like any other bird I am familiar with, so I assume these are unique mockingbird songs.  However, since I haven’t heard every bird in the world, I can’t vouch for that.  Occasionally, the mockingbird that has been living in our holly tree for a few years will sound like a Great-crested Flycatcher.  And at other times it will sound like birds I’ve heard before, even though I can’t quite place which bird.  So my question, do mockingbirds really mock other birds?  The way the human mind works is it tries to make sense out of randomness.  For instance, we will see a human shape in the shadows, even though it is only bushes.  So, is our mind telling us the mockingbird is singing like an Eastern Bluebird because his song is similar for a few short notes?  Or is it really singing a bluebird song?  Have there been any studies where a mockingbird has been locked up with a Kookaburra, for example, to see if it will start singing like a Kookaburra?  Why does a mockingbird sing?  I assume it is to attract a mate.  Does a female mockingbird get turned on when a male mockingbird sings like a towhee?  Or is it just the number of different sounds that get her attention?  What is especially interesting to me is our local mockingbird makes sounds that sound like birds that I know have not been in our neighborhood.  And I know our mockingbird is not a world traveler, it stays pretty close to our neighborhood as far as I can tell.  So it makes more sense to me to think the mockingbird is singing a bunch of random noise songs, some of which sound like other birds, then it does to think they are singing songs of birds they have never heard before.  That was probably more than one question.
Glenn WyattCabot

 
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