Northern mockingbirds often pair for life

Sunday, April 15, 2012

This beautiful exuberant songbird is a northern mockingbird. It is native to North America. Male and female look alike and are about 10 inches long.They often pair for life and help each other in caring for their young.

Northern mockingbirds eat fruit, berries and insects. You may be able to attract a mockingbird to a sidewalk or other open area by leaving it a handful of raisins. When insects are abundant, mockingbirds are often seen hopping on the ground, scaring them up, chasing and eating them.

True to its name, the northern mockingbird has the ability to mock the songs of many other birds.Some people find the incessant chatter of this bird annoying.Others like me find the mockingbird to be a symbol of happiness.

As this photo shows, a mockingbird will often find a favorite perch like the top of a schoolyard flagpole where it can sing to the world while "keeping an eye to the sky" for danger.Hawks prey on songbirds.When the mockingbird's song suddenly goes quiet and he flies down into the cover of a bush, it is likely caused by the presence of a hawk.

Sometimes on a bright moonlit night, a northern mockingbird will sing loud and long.

Through the Woods is a weekly nature photo column by Aaron Horrell. Find this column at semissourian.com to order a reprint of the photo. Find more work by him at the Painted Wren Gallery.

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