Hi All! I think you will enjoy this video featuring a Northern Mockingbird, singing from its perch in an apple tree in late June. I captured the footage about a year ago in nearby Finger Lakes National Forest (near Trumansburg, NY), and I’ve just gotten around to editing and publishing it to Vimeo. I was in charge of the videotaping and my assistant Beth Bannister did the sound recording. We’re quite happy with the result and I look forward to editing additional footage obtained during the same outing.

Finger Lakes National Forest

Finger Lakes National Forest
2499-2265 Wilkens Rd, Lodi, NY 14860, USA
Direction

Being a mockingbird, it is not surprising that he throws-in a number of imitations of the sounds made by other birds. You may not hear them at first (because he sings quite a few of his own melodies), but starting about a third of the way through, listen for song-phrases that remind you of northern cardinal (whistled songs @ 0:29), tufted titmouse (whistled songs@ 0:45), ring-billed gull (squeals … maybe? @ 0:49), blue jay (sputter call © 0:59), gray catbird (kwut alarm calls @ 1:04), white-breasted nuthatch (yank calls @ 1:24), wood thrush (musical song @ 1:39), eastern towhee (chuwee concern call @ 1:53), northern flicker (wicka-wicka-wicka @ 1:57), hairy woodpecker (sputter call @ 2:00), red-bellied woodpecker (churr calls during fade-out @ 2:12) … and perhaps more!

As always, I truly appreciate your feedback, so please leave a comment below, especially if you hear imitations that I have not listed (or else disagree with one or more of my identifications).

Naturally Yours,

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Lise
1 month ago

If only you could have seen my cat when I played my first track – the “Northern Mocking bird”

Dennis M. Williams
Dennis M. Williams
1 month ago

Thanks Mr. Elliott! This brought a smile to my face hearing his “song”. Please keep up with your work, I think it’s great!

Roger Hopkins
Roger Hopkins
1 month ago

Lang,
Merlin on my phone found Northern Mockingbird, Purple Martin, Northern Cardinal, Tufted Titmouse, California Thrasher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Eastern Tohee, Downy Woodpecker, Common Tern.
Fun!

Gail Marshall
Gail Marshall
1 month ago

That was so cool. Thanks for sharing!!! I have lots of birds in my yard year round. But the Blue Jays are the most plentiful. I also have Mourning Doves, Cardinals, and the occasional Hawk hoping to nab one of our plentiful Squirrels. We used to have annual visitors from Mexico on their way back home. Yellow Crowned Night Herons but the neighbors (I live in a townhome community with very old huge Live Oaks everywhere) complained so much about the mess the babies made that the city got involved with their cannons and fog horns until they no longer… Read more »

lorraine
lorraine
1 month ago

Ok, in need of a laugh? i have to admit i had no idea for the reason behind the name Mockingbird. I have a bad habit of surface reading. I can also admit that my son had no clue either. I appreciate the enlightenment, Lang. Am i right in believing that Jays have similar talent? Enjoyed this video very much!!!

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Burke Carson
Burke Carson
1 month ago

I have always enjoyed my resident Catbirds and think of them as composing. The following Wired research article on a study of Mockingbirds will give you some context.
https://www.wired.com/story/how-mockingbirds-compose-songs-like-beethoven/

Burke Carson
Burke Carson
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

My friend laughs when I say the Catbird sings Jazz but I have thought of it as free association Jazz that then Hits the “refrain”.
Thanks for your great recording.

Susan Gallion
1 month ago

WONDERFUL! Thank you so much for this entertaining “music video!” It’s interesting to see the bird’s throat moving and how he uses his beak to create various sounds. Fun & educational!

Judy Nietsche
Judy Nietsche
1 month ago

What a beautiful way to start my morning—truly a delight to view and listen to while sitting here with my coffee and with the windows closed against the already humid morning air and any local bird song. Thank you!

Mark Cocker
Mark Cocker
1 month ago

lovely Lang I love listening to mimics. The best i had this year was a common redstart a small European chat. it was in northern England but it imitated a European bee-eater, injecting a Latinate note into our Anglo Saxon songosphere.

John Johnson
John Johnson
1 month ago

Wow! Love not only the outstanding repertoire of the “Mocker”, but the stunning 4K video makes it seem you are there! Totally immersive. To be honest, all your video blogs of birds, amphibians, mammals, etc, match your talent of capturing soundscapes! So real, you are there! Thanks, Lang!

Jane northey
Jane northey
1 month ago

I could identify one bird that you missed, it was the hawk. The shrill sound of the hawk as it calls to it’s young, come and hunt.

Allan Meadows
Allan Meadows
1 month ago

A delightful performance by the well-named Mimus polyglottos. And I thought Brown Thrashers were garrulous! Well done, Lang.

Deb Black
Deb Black
1 month ago

Oh my goodness, this is an absolute delight!! Thank you!

Michael Shalter
Michael Shalter
1 month ago

Wonderful sound and video you and Beth did! I’m not up on North American bird songs, but this little Pavarotti brought back nice memories when we had mockingbirds at our summer home in PA
when I was a boy. Thanks, Lang.

Cynthia Neale
1 month ago

Thank you for this recording. If the mockingbird doesn’t have double vocal chords as the thrush, how does it imitate. I didn’t hear imitation of thrush, but perhaps I need to listen more closely. He could only do the sounds that don’t vibrate. I’ve been trying to differentiate between the wood, hermit, swainsey, and veery thrush. Maybe you have recordings? I once heard a mockingbird imitate a dog barking! As a writer, I started a children’s story about a relationship between a dog and the mockingbird. Anyway, why the mockingbird imitates others?

Cynthia Neale
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Thanks for your response. Sometimes mystery is more beautiful than explanation and leaves room for imagination and story. The hermit thrush thrills me with song and as I walk in the woods and listen, life becomes more sacred. The bluebird chortle does indeed make me feel happy, especially in January when I came across a flock of them in a tree here in New Hampshire. By the way, I grew up in the Finger Lakes, in the Watkins Glen area. I will never be the same…and I’m glad for it. Thanks for the recordings. I just listened to the catbird… Read more »

Lisa Blanton
Lisa Blanton
1 month ago

What an agile little singer he is! I wonder… was he born with this ability, or does he learn the songs as he becomes acquainted with the birds in his neighborhood? And, I’ve heard it’s just the male that sings. Whatever the reason, he is such a delight! Looking forward to sharing this clip with my music students at school. Maybe we can imitate him with instruments! Thanks, Lang!

Carolyn
Carolyn
1 month ago

I love the mockingbird. It’s song lifts my spirits.

John
John
1 month ago

I think that you have it all wrong. The mockingbird teaches the other species his songs!

Lisa Blanton
Lisa Blanton
1 month ago
Reply to  John

Love that. Maybe he’s the music teacher in his aviary!

Deborah
Deborah
1 month ago

Lovely! Northern Mockingbirds are so talented and entertaining! Thanks for sharing this great recording. Perhaps we should enter him/her into America’s Got Talent, or one of those other talent contests!

Last edited 1 month ago by Deborah
Deborah
Deborah
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Yes indeed

Rebecca De La Torre
1 month ago

Wow, Lang, I always love hearing your recordings but this time getting to SEE the bird is a real treat! Thank you fro your hard work bringing these beautiful sounds of nature right to our headphones, wherever we are!

Trudy Gerlach
Trudy Gerlach
1 month ago

Just wonderful!

Eliza
Eliza
1 month ago

Delightful! I loved its cardinal, nuthatch and wood thrush imitations– mockingbirds are such fun birds.

Ernie Lewis
Ernie Lewis
1 month ago

Wonderful! Thanks for sharing.
I’ve always enjoyed how Mockers do songs of lots of other birds.

Bill Crook
Bill Crook
1 month ago

I consider it a treat when I am woken in the night by a mockingbird singing. I listen to your recordings sometimes at night while I fall asleep pretending I am somewhere else. My favorite spot for night sounds is Trader’s Hill near Folkston, GA.. Along with moss and fern draped live oaks making for a beautiful campsite, the late night sounds of Barred owl and Whip-poor-will keep you happily awake. Thanks for your recordings!!

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Lang Elliott
1 month ago
Reply to  Bill Crook

Hi Bill! have recorded several times at Trader’s Hill (at the campground) and I have a lot of great material from nearby Okefenokee NWR. I’ve done three canoe expeditions there, the last one in 2019. Love the wet prairies.

Bill Crook
Bill Crook
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

If you have a recording of Trader’s Hill I will purchase it from you!! I have camped there 3 times and have been to Okie I think 7. It feels like home to me. I know you have experienced true silence. I think I have once. It was in the Pinacate in Mexico on my honeymoon. We climbed a large hill early morning looking for bighorns and I could hear the chop chop chop of a helicopter. Realized it was my heart beat. Let me know about Trader’s Hill. Thanks.

Beth campbell
Beth campbell
1 month ago

I had Northern Mockingbirds in a tree behind my lanai when I lived in Florida. They sang all day long. Loved it. Hi Lang. A voice from the past.

Lang Elliott
1 month ago
Reply to  Beth campbell

Beth: So good to hear from you! Where are you living now?

Marc Anderson
1 month ago

Great footage and sound Lang. The deliberate movement of this bird when singing and the pitch and tempo of the song almost give the impression it is in slow motion. I mean, compared with a smaller, hyperactive songbird with a higher-pitched song like a wren!

Teria
Teria
1 month ago

QUITE the performance you captured here Lang 🙂

Not having grown up among these birds, I quite delight whenever I hear them in my local Asheville area walks :-)…..
(though I don’t think I’ve ever heard one who presented so many different tunes !)

Thank you dear heart 🙂

Pat Nelson
Pat Nelson
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

I hope you find it. That would be a real treat!

Deborah
Deborah
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Wow! I would LOVE to hear that recording!!

Aimee Evoli
1 month ago

Love this bird. Only see on in the back yard at my Neighbors yard between us.
Thank you for recording it.

Jean
Jean
1 month ago

I played this for my cockatiels. They were excited especially when they heard bird sounds like the ones in our backyard.

Mar
Mar
1 month ago

Thank you, Lang. I loved this so much & shared it with my bird-loving grandchildren!

Belle
Belle
1 month ago

i love mockingbirds so much. They are just such wild characters. once i stood in the middle of washington dc, and listened to. one atop a church spire, singing away, telling the politicians how little they mean. i remember tom robbins including them in one of his books, and mary oliver often includes them. This is one of the beginning lines of a poem of hers that i love: “This morning two mockingbirds in the green field were spinning and tossing the white ribbons of their songs into the air. I had nothing better to do than listen. I mean… Read more »

Belle
Belle
1 month ago
Reply to  Belle

oh and once i heard one on the Eastern shore of maryland at a wild life preserve who had mastered the call of an osprey. 🙂

Needie Rountree
Needie Rountree
1 month ago

Excellent capture! Thank you for sharing, and for your work.

Nicholas Bartenhagen
Nicholas Bartenhagen
1 month ago

On her album ‘Whales & Nightingales‘, released in 1970, Judy Collins sang ‘Nightingale‘, which contained the following lyrics ~

In the orchard, the nightingale sang.
And the plums the she broke with her brown beak
Tomorrow would turn into song.

We should elide the references to she and her in deference to the song’s lyrical poesy..

Patty Cheek
Patty Cheek
1 month ago

I so enjoyed this. I miss mockingbirds where I live. They have such a wealth of songs and calls. I counted 27 different ones in this recording. Pretty great! Thanks so much, Lang.

Angelica Jayne Taggart
Angelica Jayne Taggart
1 month ago

My cats really enjoyed this one – as did I.

Pat Nelson
Pat Nelson
1 month ago

It might be challenging to do, but it would be helpful to have a time associated with each of the bird songs that Jack is replicating.

Pat Nelson
Pat Nelson
1 month ago
Reply to  Lang Elliott

Thanks! Those are close to what I had written down for myself.

Sam Sapp
1 month ago

What a wonderful array of calls captured from this most interesting bird. Thank you.

jill clark
1 month ago

Amazing. I have always wondered about the variety of sounds that mockingbirds make. Thank you. This one put on quite a display for you. Thank you.

Deena
Deena
1 month ago

Fabulous!!! That would put a smile on anybody’s face :0)

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