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Northern Mockingbird

Mimus polyglottos

The Northern Mockingbird is a very familiar bird in North America and Mexico. These birds make themselves very conspicuous by singing and perching in prominent locations. Mockingbird songs can be differentiated from other thrashers in their phrasing. Their songs usually have two or three repeated phrases in a row before they switch to another phrase. Both males and females sing, and may have a repertoire of 200 songs.

The northern limit to the range for these birds extends further north in the eastern USA (to Maine) than in the west (to southern Oregon), and they are year-round residents in all but the the most northern zones which they occupy. Mockingbirds are fierce defenders of their territory, and few birds, regardless of size can resist the onslaught once the chase has begun. A wide variety of habitats from urban and suburban, to thorny dry deserts are all suitable to these hardy birds.

Texas, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee and Mississippi all claim the Northern Mockingbird as their state bird. One could argue that the proper name for these birds should be the Southern Mockingbird!

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