A Northern Mockingbird’s Repertoire

Calling Northern MockingbirdCalling Northern Mockingbird – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, +1. EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, not baited or called in

When I lived in Florida I saw Northern Mockingbirds all the time but they are not so common here in Utah and typically I only see a pair or two during the whole breeding season. Yesterday I photographed a very obliging Northern Mockingbird on Antelope Island State Park that seemed to have a lot to say with his song. Mockingbirds will mimic the calls and songs other birds, mechanical sounds, the vocalizations of non-avian species and the sounds of other mockingbirds.

While I photographed this presumed male; females don’t vocalize as loud or as often as males, I could hear the calls of other birds. I heard this mockingbird vocalize the songs and calls of Loggerhead Shrikes, American Kestrels, Killdeer, Northern Flickers, the flight call of American Pipits and what appeared to be a Scrub Jay. I am sure there were more songs and calls of other species during this Northern Mockingbird’s repertoire but I was also trying to focus on photographing the mockingbird.

Perhaps the next time I have an opportunity to photograph a Northern Mockingbird I should record the song with my phone. Until then you can hear some of the sounds that Northern Mockingbirds make here.


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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. I’m in north central Idaho and here they will mimic all kinds of other birds of course, but will also mimic a cow elk mewing – they’ve fooled me more than a few times because we do have a lot of elk in the area. Right now I have one starting a nest in my roof and it’s mimicking a goose honking – they even trail off like a goose flying away from you. Sounds pretty happy just chatting up a storm. Any day I expect I’ll hear one crowing like a rooster!

  2. An amazing little bird. I do love the mimics – and am awed at the sounds they can create. Here this morning you have confused one of my cats. As soon as the call began his ears pricked up. It might be an unfamiliar bird – but he knew the sound.

  3. Very nice photo! Just love my Mockingbirds! We have tons of them here in CA. They serenade me night and day!

  4. Great photo of a bird I grew up with in the greater Los Angeles area; I too miss them since I moved to Utah. I recall one diving down and harassing our cat, which I thought was very brave.

  5. Patty Chadwick

    Great Shot! Really miss hearing them….we had one (or more.) here for many years, even sang at night( by the light of a streetlamp. We heard them all the time in Florida. Apparently, after WWII, homecoming vets wanted homes of theirs own, bought into developments and “track houses”, and were persuaded by unscrupulous “nurseries” to plant “living hedges”, AKA inexpensive, very invasive roses. These flourished, grew quickly, flowered profusely and provided fruit (rose hips) for birds like the mockingbird, which followed this bonanza north into new territory. We haven’t heard “our” birds in a couple of years now..but miss them…him, her.

  6. A super shot Mia of this glorious mimic and its extensive repertoire.

  7. Lovely shot, Mia! That must have been a really fun experience to hear all his songs!

  8. It must be a different perspective when you rarely see a common bird you have known elsewhere. Would I ever miss the Canada Goose or the Mallard if I moved? Hmm…maybe not.

    However, the mockingbird is interesting because of its vocal abilities, no matter where you find it.

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