[Tweeters] Mockingbirds, what are they mocking?

Chazz Hesselein chazz at hesselein.com
Sat Jul 16 17:00:26 PDT 2016

Dear Tweets,

Ok, so nobody can accuse me of being the smartest tack in the box. Last
week I was in Sacramento caring for my in-laws. I didn't bring my
binocular or any other optics so I was limited to my bare eyes and poor
hearing to do the limited "birding" I was able to do. The cool, quiet
mornings make a welcome contrast to Sacramento's too hot summer
afternoons. (And the thermometer didn't even come close to breaking
100.) As I sat in my in-laws yard listening on one of those cool
mornings to the mockingbirds in full throat, I thought, there's a reason
they call them mockingbirds, what are they mocking? Sure, occasionally
they came out with a single distinctive and very accurate scrub jay call
(of the California variety), but what about all the rest of that jumble
of three-repeated cacophony? So I decided to really listen and see if
there was more to their mocking name. Sure enough, I was able to pick
up a few recognizable birds calls: several different California Scrub
Jay calls, Oak Titmouse, Northern Flicker and Red-Shouldered Hawk. I'm
sure there were many more but between my relatively poor birding by ear
skills and the rather crude imitation produced by mockingbirds in those
rapid-fire repeats, that's all I could discern. If any of you are as
slow on the uptake on as me, then next time you're in Northern
Mockingbird country, if you listen, you may be surprised by all that
mockingbirds have to say.

Somewhat abashed in Port Orchard, WA,

Chazz Hesselein

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