Leonard has fond memories of listening to the northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) sing during the night in the Los Angeles area where he was raised. (It also sings during the day.) This member of the thrasher family has a long song, which is a mixture of original and imitative phrases. The mockingbird adds new songs to its repertoire throughout its life and is also an excellent mimic of other bird species.
The northern mockingbird is considered a “southern” bird but can be found at lower elevations as far north as lower Canada. Where we live in Northeastern California mockingbird sightings are rare, although about a hundred miles to the south (and 4,000 feet lower) they are common. In 30+ years, Leonard and I have only seen a mockingbird twice on our property.
The mockingbird is overall grey, paler on the breast and belly. There are two conspicuous white bars on each wing. The tail is long with white edges while the thin bill has a slight down-curve.
Foraging on open, grassy ground or in shrubby vegetation, the mockingbird diet consists of insects in the summer and fruits and berries in the winter. Mockingbirds will also eat sap from recently pruned or injured trees.
This mockingbird was photographed in Irving TX not far from the Dallas Fort Worth Airport.