About The Northern Mockingbird
The Northern Mockingbird is known for its unique ability of imitating many different bird songs, able to mimic over thirty different avian calls in a sequence. This large variety measures at 9 to 11 inches in length. It has light colored eyes, gray overall cover, long black tails, and long legs, with beige to white undersides. Outer tail feathers are white, while the wings are primarily black with thick white stripes and patches. Also nicknamed the American Nightingale, the Northern Mockingbird species continues to proliferate northward. It defends not only its breeding territory, like most birds, but also its feeding territory, which it frequents in the fall and winter seasons.
The Northern Mockingbird Nesting Preferences
Low trees and thick shrubs serve as nesting locations for the Northern Mockingbird. The male gathers and puts twigs together to build a sturdy base for the nest. The female then weaves an open cup made of weeds, leaves, and grass, padded with thin roots, feathers, moss, and fine hairy substances from plants. She then lays about 3 to 4 eggs, incubates them for 12 to 13 days. After hatching, both parents put in efforts in feeding the young birds for 6 days. Another 6 days and the young ones may be expected to leave the nest, although they have yet to fly expertly. For up to 21 days after they leave the nest, the parents will continue to feed them. As Northern Mockingbirds have been known to raise about four broods within a breeding season, the male will already start building the nest for the next brood as soon as the last brood hatches, while the female attends to them. After building the nest base, the two will switch, so that the female can finish building the new nest.
Building a Birdhouse For The Northern Mockingbird
Northern Mockingbirds are known to build intricate nests on low foliage, thus it may be unlikely that this breed will be attracted to nest on a birdhouse. Birdwatchers may try to lure them with low trees and shrubs, as well as a supply of their choice food.
The Northern Mockingbird Mating Habits
Though monogamy is the norm for the Northern Mockingbird, polygamy in this species has been observed as well, with some mated birds usually staying together for just one breeding period. Early in the year, the males already claim the nesting territory. The female linger in the winter-feeding territory until it is time to choose her mate or come together with her partner from the last breeding season. When the female enters the nesting territory, the male will issue a challenge, as he chases the female. If she goes away, he could attempt to lure her again by spreading his wings and calling gently.
The Northern Mockingbird Feeding Preferences
Northern Mockingbirds forage from the ground, and eat differently during breeding season and winter. Small invertebrates, such as snails, spiders, beetles, grasshoppers, and worms, are a major part of their breeding-season diet, while the winter diet is primarily made up of fruits, like berries.
Interesting Northern Mockingbird Facts
Either gender of Northern Mockingbirds can sing intricate and varying songs, with every particular phrase repeating several times. Their songs are littered with fragments of different birds’ songs, being the skilled impressionists of the bird kind. The scientific name of the Northern Mockingbird is Mimus polyglottos. It is classified as order Passeriformes, family Mimidae.