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Northern Mockingbird

Nobody likes a “copycat,” but how about a mockingbird?

The Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) is a common bird in Ohio, and can be found in most of the United States—except for the very northern areas. A name that is accurate to its behaviors, the mockingbird’s calls are a mix of original sounds, mimics of other birds, and manmade noise imitations, such as sirens, beeping, and whistling. It’s said they can repeat up to 200 different sounds!

 


Identifying a Northern Mockingbird is easiest while the bird is in flight. Very conspicuous white wing patches can be seen when the wings are outstretched, which is an identifying trait for this bird. They are also known to flash these white patches even while not in flight, though the exact reason is unknown. It is theorized that this could be a behavior used for courting, scaring up insects to eat, or even intimidating predator species.

 

 

The scientific, or Latin name, of the Northern Mockingbird—Mimus polyglottos—translates to “many-tongued mimic.” It’s a very fitting name to this interesting bird! Although they are year-round residents in much of Ohio, they mostly call during their mating season. They regularly sing at night as well.

They are well adapted to living around towns and in neighborhoods, so if you’re lucky, you may see them around where you live. We regularly see them in the MetroParks!

Do you enjoy the sounds of the Northern Mockingbird? To listen to their different songs and calls, check out this link.