Friday, February 22, 2019

Love Song Over Cemetery Point

Original Oil on Panel, 4 x 4 inches

I have not had the pleasure of hearing a Northern Mockingbird sing all night long, but they are not in my territory. However, their range has been creeping northward, with climate change being the most likely culprit. If they do arrive in Duluth in my lifetime, my best chance of hearing their 24-hour bird song would be in May, June, or July.
For me, the two birds I've heard sing late into the evening or early in the morning are the Eastern Whip-poor-will, who sang on hot summer nights until around 9-10 pm when I was a child; and the American Robin, who often started singing as early as 2-3 am when I lived in Port Washington, WI.
Mockingbirds have excellent mimicry, and are perhaps the most well-known birds for this incredible feat. Like European Starlings, mockingbirds have what’s called a syrinx in their chest composed of two membranes, each having the ability to vibrate independently. This enables the bird to make both low and high frequency sounds at the same time, allowing for complex notes with wide variations. As for the song of the Mockingbird, the male is trying to attract the ladies with his chirps, tweets, zips, coos, and anything else he can come up with to woo a female in his direction. Over and over and over and over and.....


References
Ackerman, Jennifer. The Genius of Birds. New York, NY: Penguin Press, 2016.

Connor, Jack. The Complete Birder, A Guide to Better Birding. Boston, Massachusetts: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1988.

Stokes, Donald and Lillian. The Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. New York, NY: Little, Brown and Company, 2010.


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