Mockingbird in the cedar tree near the library.

Note: The references listed at the bottom of the post will take you to two different birding websites (allaboutbirds and audubon). While some of the facts may be general knowledge–I decided to play it safe and add in the reference links.

So today’s photograph comes from my walk to the student union during my lunch break. I kept hearing a unusual bird call, and when I was going past the cedar tree I looked back, and saw the mockingbird sitting on one of the branches singing. I find these birds fascinating in their ability to mimic (or mock) other birds, insects, amphibians, and other sounds (we once had some mockingbirds around our house that could mock our dog’s cough).

So what are some cool facts about mockingbirds?

            Mockingbirds are medium size songbirds (so they’re the same size as a robin). Their bills are long and thin with a slightly downward curve. When they’re flying their tail seems to be long, but that is an optical illusion since their wings are more broad and rounded.

           Their diet consists of berries (mainly in fall and winter), and insects. They like to eat grasshoppers, caterpillars, ants, wasps, spiders, earthworms, snails, rollipollies, and if they are really adventurous—crayfish.

            They’re very territorial and will attack others that venture to close to their nests during mating/nesting season.

            They have two to three broods a year (and that ranges from 2-6 eggs, with the average being 3-4). Both parents will feed and protect the young.

            Use to be considered a target for pet trade from the 1700s to the early 1900s.

            The only states that the mockingbird probably isn’t spotted in includes: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North & South Dakota, Minnesota, & Wisconsin (though it might be seen in the very southern parts of the state). It is found in the far southeastern tip of Wyoming and parts of southern Maine.