Monday, May 18, 2009

Hawk and Mockingbird

This evening I walked around the streets a bit and did some casual birding. (I didn't bother taking my camera or notepad.) In the undeveloped lot near Shady Oaks and Springvale I heard a Broad-winged Hawk call 5 or 6 times. Last summer a pair of Broad-winged Hawks nested in the neighborhood, at Broadmeade and Norchester. (The picture here is of one of the parents from this nest last year.) So I was pleased to observe the species again this spring. Later my neighbor who lives by last year's nest said that the person who lives next to this lot is seeing nesting hawks in there. Maybe they are the same birds! I was very surprised to find the Broad-winged Hawk nest last year, since we are on the edge of their breeding range. The more common breeding hawk in the neighborhood is the year-round resident Red-shouldered Hawk.

Sunday morning on Lake Creek Trail I had an amazing experience with an extremely common bird. As I was standing around watching for migrating birds, a Northern Mockingbird was singing like crazy. I started to recognize different bird species' calls and songs that it was imitating and I started to write them down. I recognized 9 species that this mockingbird was imitating, and it was making plenty more sounds that I did not recognize. Here are the ones I wrote down:
  1. Blue Jay -- It imitated more than one Blue Jay sound.
  2. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  3. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
  4. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  5. Carolina Wren
  6. European Starling
  7. Northern Cardinal
  8. Chuck-will's-widow, a species only seldom heard along our creek in the spring
  9. Green Heron -- This one made me laugh. The mockingbird actually made the funny "kyop" sound that these herons make!
What a talented songster! I got this picture of a mockingbird in the same area back in March. Quite possibly it's the same bird.

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