To Chill a Mockingbird!

This post could be filed under the category, “What the heck’s going on here?”

As you can see by the image to the left, I really am writing about the actual Mockingbird, not the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel or the movie, “To Kill a Mockingbird” written by Harper Lee. Although I love the book and adapted movie, starring Gregory Peck, I’m concerned less with metaphor and more with real-deal Mimus Polyglottos.

Over the past week or so my wife and I have noticed a Mockingbird singing at night and for hours on end, changing his crisp night song about every 10 to 15 seconds. Although I love the song of the Mockingbird, it can get a little annoying when you’re trying to get some shut-eye. If it was up to me, I would prefer the Mockingbird’s song for a wake-up alarm verses a good-night prayer. Nevertheless, I’ve learned to overcome the incessant clatter of my fine, feathered friend.

Although we’ve had successive families of the Northern Mockingbird around our house since we moved to New London, this is the first summer we’ve noticed the night song. I though the bird was cookoo or something. Come to find out, he wasn’t cookoo at all. I was just a bit unenlightened. What I discovered, by a few clicks of the mouse, was that this night song was actually a very natural and normal behavior. Who knew?

So, what the heck is going on here? Seems that the night crooner is a male bird just looking for some “friendship.” More aptly, a mate. In a story posted on Birdwatching.com by Diane Porter, titled, “Listen to the Mockingbird” she gives these notes on the Mockingbird:

The Northern Mockingbird is a world-famous singer, considered finer even than the Nightingale of Europe (the one John Keats wrote about in his “Ode to a Nightingale”). The male mockingbird sings a medley of songs belonging to other birds, repeating each phrase several times before moving on to the next. Unlike most songbirds, which learn their songs before they’re a year old, a mockingbird continues to expand his repertoire all his life. Some include the sounds of people whistling, frogs croaking, and doorbells ringing.

Although all adult male mockingbirds sing during the day, only a bachelor sings at night. He stops doing that as soon as he wins a mate.

Although I could launch into a trove of metaphor at this point, for the sake of brevity and survival, I’ll stick with the present facts. (My wife may have a contrary view to what I am thinking about…). At any rate, since becoming acquainted with the Mockingbird’s night choruses, I’ve not only learned to enjoy their nocturnal melodies, but actually look forward to them every night,. I’m sure the lonely male Mockingbird has a different opinion about it though. So do I really want to “chill” the Mockingbird? Not on your life. Like Harper Lee noted in her novel,

“Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Related Articles:

Attracting the Northern Mockingbird – Birds Forever

To Kill a Mockingbird – Sparknotes

Listen to the Mockingbird’s song by clicking on the image below:

Listen to Carly Simon and James Taylor sing “Mockingbird” by clicking on her image below

Lyrics

Mock (yeah)
ing (yeah)
bird (yeah)
yeah (yeah)
Mockin’bird, now

Everybody have you heard
He’s gonna buy me a mockingbird
And if that mockingbird don’t sing
He’s gonna buy me a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring won’t shine
He’s gonna surely break this heart of mine
And that’s why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, oh

Hear me now and understand
He’s gonna find me some piece of mind
And if that piece of mind won’t stay
I’m gonna find myself a better way
And if that better way ain’t so
I’ll ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that’s why I keep on shoutin’ in your ear
Say yeah, yeah whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, uh, oh

Now, everybody have you heard
She’s gonna buy me a mockingbird
Yeah if that mockingbird don’t sing
She’s gonna buy me a diamond ring
And if that diamond ring won’t shine
Yes, it’ll surely break this heart of mine
And there’s a reason why I keep on tellin’ everybody
Say yeah, yeah no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no

Listen now and understand
She’s gonna find me some piece of mind
Yeah if that piece of mind won’t stay
I’m gonna get myself a better way
I might rise above, I might go below
Ride with the tide and go with the flow
And that’s the reason why I keep on shoutin’ in your ear…

No, no, no, no, no, no, no, now, now. baby

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