Wednesday, July 09, 2008

All night love song?

There is  a persistent urban legend that the Northern Mockingbird (mimus polyglottus) will sing his heart out for his loved one all night long. 

I can't say one way or other for sure that this happens, but I'd gotten up in the dead calm of the early morning (perhaps 2:00 a.m.) and, after what seemed to be forever to get back to sleep, a mockingbird began to call. So much for that myth. If he'd been active while I was asleep of course I'd have no recall of it but this one, for sure, had not been calling. 

Obviously, in early summer, mockingbirds and other males (of various species and kingdoms) have an insatiable appetite to serenade, if not being downright bothersome about it. Wren chatter endlessly. Robins and cardinals get downright vicious. Blue jays like to fuss more than usual. Horses and men chase their mares around the pastures and the yards until there are paths worn in the grass. As that man with the gift of turning a phrase once remarked: "Fishes do it. Bees do it. Even educated fleas do it. Let's do it. Let's fall in love?"  

I could never be able to tell if one mockingbird stopped and another started or if the same individual kept it up late into the night. But I did wonder from the human point of view, if "she" was actually impressed?


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