This remarkable bird is one of my favorite from all the birds I have in my backyard. The Northern Mockingbird.
The northern mockingbird is a medium-sized mimid that has long legs and tail. Both males and females look alike. Its upper parts are colored gray, while its underparts have a white or whitish-gray color. It has parallel white wing bars on the half of the wings connected near the white patch giving it a distinctive appearance in flight. The black central rectrices and typical white lateral rectrices are also noticeable in flight. The iris is usually a light green-yellow or a yellow, but there have been instances of an orange color. The bill is black with a brownish black appearance at the base.
The mockingbird usually resides in fields and forest edges. It is usually seen in farmlands, roadsides, city parks, suburban areas, and open grassy areas with thickets and brushy deserts.
Although many species of bird imitate the vocalizations of other birds, the Northern Mockingbird is the best known in North America for doing so. Among the species and vocalizations imitated are Carolina wren, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Towhee, House Sparrow, and Eastern Bluebird songs, calls of the Northern Flicker and, Black Phoebe to name a few.
A couple of days ago a Cooper’s Hawk came to the backyard and went after a group of small birds at the feeders. One Northern Mockingbird that was on the top of the roof descended rapidly and flew across in front of the hawk and distracted it from the chase, the hawk went after the mockingbird and the chase began. It was two master flyers’ dog fight. Not very long after the mockingbird played a what it has to be a rehearsed and superb move, he flew directly to one corner of my neighbor’s house and just inches before impact, he made a tight left turn and the hawk made the cut to the right hardly in time not without partially bumping the down spout of the house, made a loud thud sound but the hawk kept on flying, the mockingbird was by then safely away from the beaten predator.
“Through the years I’ve seen several chases like that one between a mockingbird and a larger predator, thus, saving smaller birds from becoming victims.”
Text and photographs © HJ Ruiz – Avian101