The featured bird for September is the Northern Mockingbird.
When you hear a beautiful bird song that features many different short melodies around St. Petersburg, Florida, it’s probably a Northern Mockingbird.
Species: Mimus polyglottos
Length: 8.3-10.2 in (21-26 cm)
Weight: 1.6-2.0 oz (45-58 g)
Wingspan: 12.2-13.8 in (31-35 cm)
The Northern Mockingbird is known for it’s beautiful singing voice – and outstanding repertoire. While both the male and the female Mockingbird sing, the female sings more quietly and usually only when the male isn’t around. Hm.
The male Northern Mockingbird keeps learning new songs through its lifetime and can know around 200 songs! Some have a different repertoire for the first part of the year (Feb – Aug) vs. the second part of the year (Sep – Nov). Some birds sing long into the night, especially during a full moon.
And no, it doesn’t appear that there is a Southern Mockingbird – instead there is a Tropical Mockingbird, which can be found from southern Mexico to north-eastern South America and the Caribbean.
A distinct behavior you may have noticed is when a Mockingbird suddenly stretches out its wings and lifts them up in jerky movements while standing or walking around. It’s not known why they do this; but a theory is that the movement might startle insects, which might make them easier to catch.
While during spring and summer, Mockingbirds eat mostly insects and such, during fall and winter they eat more fruit. The featured photo shows a Northern Mockingbird in a Beauty Berry Bush, a Florida native plant very popular with birds. I took this photo in my neighbor’s front yard in Historic Kenwood.