Sunday, July 22, 2007
I owe an apology to the pair of Northern Mockingbirds who, like me, are summer residents in the neighborhood. In error, I previously identified them as catbirds. After listening to a long and elaborate song while walking the dog this evening, I looked online for more information, and as the folks at the Cornell Ornithological Lab warn, it is quite easy to confuse these two species!
What's particularly intriguing about the male mockingbird is his ability to keep learning new sounds and adding to his repertoire as he matures. This one seems to have been listening to car alarms--he actually rotates through his songs in short stages, and some of the sounds are quite reminiscent of those urban annoyances. (In the photo at right, he's actually really cranky that I'm hanging out with the dog taking pictures, and the only sound he was making was a loud "chip chip" sort of "get the heck away from my nesting area, you beasts!" kind of noise.)
Which will make me listen to car alarms just a bit differently in future. After all, if the mockingbird can find beauty in it, why can't I? A very Zen approach, I think.
(And can the new camera take great pictures or what?)