Cooperative Northern Mockingbird in Autumn

/, Box Elder County, Northern Mockingbird, Utah/Cooperative Northern Mockingbird in Autumn

Some days one good bird is all I get and if I hadn’t spotted this cooperative Mockingbird on a Fragrant Sumac in northern Utah yesterday I would have been mostly skunked.

Northern Mockingbird in autumn Fragrant Sumac

Northern Mockingbird in autumn Fragrant Sumac

Click on of the images to see a slide show.

I saw other birds yesterday but they were either too far away or they were too skittish and took off before I could get focused on them. The other birds I photographed just didn’t make the mark so my best shots of the day were of this Northern Mockingbird.

While I photographed the mockingbird it repeatedly turned its head away from me and it also kept looking up into the sky, I suspect that it could see an airborne predator that I simply could not see. I’ve seen both Cooper’s and Sharp-shinned Hawks in the same area so it may have been one of them that kept the mockingbird on alert. I really can’t say for certain but the mockingbird’s behavior said as much to me. There were three Northern Mockingbirds in this same area last time I was up there but yesterday I saw only one.

I thought it seemed “late” to still be seeing Northern Mockingbirds in Utah but I checked eBird and they are actually seen here year round, that surprised me because I thought it would be way too cold here in the winter for them. Most of them probably do migrate and this is just the latest I have ever seen this species.

I’m just glad this Northen Mockingbird hung around or I would have come home very disappointed.

Life is good.


All images were taken with my Nikon D500 with the 500mm VR lens and 1.4x TC, ISO’s were 800 and 500, aperture was 7.1, shutter speeds ranged from 1/1000 to 1/2000.


  1. Anita Austin October 21, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    What a great series of the Mockingbird! He looks like he is performing a high wire act balancing on the tiny branch. You can see his tail feathers all spread out in one shot.
    My Daddy got into a battle over a cherry tree in Northern Michigan with a Mockingbird. He lost. They are quite good dive bombers. Thanks for the pictures and for bringing back memories.

  2. Pepe Forte October 21, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Because of Harper Lee, Mockingbirds have always been among my faves. This series of pics is absolutely wonderful. I love the colors and detail but, most of all, I love how you captured the Mockingbird in such interesting positions; especially with the first image. What a great start to the day! Thanks Mia.

  3. Elephants Child October 21, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    What a charmer. Love the sumac too.

  4. Marty K October 21, 2018 at 11:07 am

    That first shot definitely shows some “birditude!” I think the 3rd shot is my favorite. I love the diagonal.

  5. Trudy Brooks October 21, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Mia, the Mockingbird is a pretty bird. Never really seen them in person. Glad you spotted one today. I feel disappointed when I go Moose hunting, and don’t see a one to get a picture of.

  6. Liz Cormack October 21, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Beautiful photos as always.

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