Sunday, July 15, 2007

Listen to the Mocking Bird

For the past few weeks I have become intrigued by the song of a particular Mocking Bird who sings in the trees surrounding the old folks home.

It is said that the Mocking Bird lures other birds to his domain so he can prey upon them by imitating their calls.  This may be so, I cannot tell.  But I do know his particular song has a pattern and meaning of its own.

He has chirps and trills and warbles that are fascinating. To me they sound like words, and the words vary and make sentences.  He will repeat certain words three or five times and switch instantly to seven or eight trills, and then a few warbles, and a chirp or two and then something else.

It all goes too fast for me to count.  It sounds, at first, random, and yet, it sounds like a sentence of some sort.  One of my friends and I speculate on what he is saying.  We ponder is it "Come on over, Darlings, I have a nice nest ready," or is it "This is MY territory, Other birds Keep Out."

My vote was for the territorial claim, since other animals "mark" their territories with scent and offal.  I think he is staking out his claim.  My friend is more romantic.  She thinks he is attracting a female to come and move in with him.  That sounds reasonable, too, since other species do that...notably humans.

I have tried to record segments of his song to see if I can identify certain words or sentences, but my recorder is not sensitive nor versatile enough to make a good sample to study.  One would need parabolic microphones, and variable speed tapes to slow down the cheeps and warbles to human speed. 

I'm sure someone, sometime, has done this, and it may even be online somewhere.  I hope to find it soon.

With the right recorders and transducers perhaps someone could communicate with the birds.  I know when I played certain sounds on my keyboard when I had it outside can connected to the public address system at our Fourth of July party, I attracted several birds who came close to listen and answer my random notes.  If I just knew some Mocking Bird phrases, I could warble and chirp back to them, and say "Good Morning.  I love your singing...but this is MY TERRITORY."


mawmellow said...

Great entry.  The birds fascinate me, too !

ggjack7 said...

Loved this entry, for years I would every summer put a hanging basket of bright colored flowers just to observe the Hummingbird, they came by the numbers and hovered around to drink the nector, but I could only watch silently by the window, for as soon as I opened the door they would fly away, but could never be quick enough to see where the flew off to, and I don't know if I ever heard them sing but that would be exciting, thanks for sharing. gg/Jackie from Do You Remember

madcobug said...

Have you ever heard of the Dog Days of Summer. Mocking Birds can't sing during this time. They will try to but only a kind of croak comes out. Helen

chasferris said...

See Helen's comment (#3 below)  ...
Either my Mocking Bird doesn't know about the croaking rule, or it not yet "dog days", or maybe my Mocking Bird is some other kind of bird. Being a bird "listener" not a bird "watcher", I am not sure of any of my data  I will keep watching and listening and see what happens in August.  As a matter of fact, i hear no birds today.  Curious.