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Learn more about these featured feathered friends with our Birds of the Month Online Crossword Puzzle.


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Mockingbirds

December 2010 - Bird of the Month

With these birds, hearing isn't always believing. Learn more about this amazing mimicker.

• Since the early 1900s, the Northern Mockingbird has been expanding its range northward along the east and west coasts of the United States and into southern Canada. The increased development of farmland and suburban areas, along with the planting of fruit-bearing ornamental shrubs and trees has probably aided their move northward.

• Northern Mockingbirds have been known to so skillfully imitate sounds such as squeaky gate hinges, sirens, and barking dogs that even an acoustical analysis could not tell the difference between the mockingbird and the original sound.

• Mockingbirds are such entertaining imitators of other bird calls that at one time they were sold in pet stores as mimic songbirds.

• A Northern Mockingbird may have a repertoire of over 200 different songs. It continues to add new songs to its collection throughout its life.

• During their long nocturnal serenades, Northern Mockingbirds are capable of singing over 1,000 songs per hour.

• Northern Mockingbirds aggressively defend their nest and are know to attack and mob potential predators (and people) that approach too close.

• Northern Mockingbirds have been known to identify individual people who repeatedly encroach into their nesting territory and will selectively harass them. In contrast, they will ignore new people just passing through their territory.

• Northern Mockingbirds will have two to three broods of young per year. Each brood will overlap with the female incubating the next set of eggs while the male tends to the needs of the new fledglings from the previous nest.

• The diet of the Northern Mockingbird consists of about equal amounts of fruits and arthropods (insects & spiders). The fruits consist of wild and cultivated varieties including grapes, apples, barberries, hawthorn, elderberries and rose hips. Their favorite insects include butterflies, beetles, ants, bees, wasps and grasshoppers.

• Northern Mockingbirds will visit feeding stations, especially in winter where they dine on fruit, mealworms and suet. They often bully other birds away from feeding areas, even if it contains foods they do not like.

• The Northern Mockingbird is the official state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.

For more information about mockingbirds, visit rightbird.com - our online bird guide.

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