Tuesday, April 17, 2012


     Have you ever had trouble distinguishing a Mockingbird's imitation of a bird with the real one? Here are a few tips to help you sift out the confusion. Mimics can include anything from Jays to Thrashers but the most notorious one is most likely the Northern Mockingbird. The name fits very well. They can usually imitate a good 50% of the bird sounds in your yard. While they cannot imitate Warblers, mimics such as the Mockingbird can cause some confusing situations. The first and most simple tip is this. When you hear the bird sound that you are uncertain of, keep listening, until the song keeps going or it changes to a different song. If it changes to a different song within a few seconds, it is most likely a Mimic. A second tip is, when a Mimic imitates something, it is either louder or softer than the real thing. They are usually not perfectly in tune with the original sound. Although they are very skilled in imitating other sounds, this flaw is one that is easy to recognize sometimes.

Brown Thrasher (Mimics very often)
     Probably the most confusing imitation is that of the Blue Jay which takes on the sound of a Red Shouldered Hawk very often. If Blue Jays are not around where you bird, well, they aren't a problem. But for those who do have them and hear this often, here is some info about that. When the real Red Shouldered Hawk calls, it is very energetic and is constantly calling. Also, usually, when these Hawks are calling, they are flying. This makes it easier to see them. When a Blue Jay imitates it, they are softer, more hoarse, much less powerful, and they only call for a short amount of time. But the real Hawk can calls continuously for a long time.  One you begin to distinguish them on a regular basis, you will get the hang of it soon. Hope this helped with all those confusing imitations! Thanks for reading and happy birding.