Two Bird Impersonators

A brown thrasher was “arguing” with a mockingbird this morning. Apparently one was close to the nest of the other. They allowed for only a few pictures as they moved through the branches. One had a deep call note, and the other’s was a tad higher. Both sounded like they meant business.

I had been trying to get pictures of both, since this is a relatively common occurance.  With hopes of having a good picture of each, imagine my surprise when I put this picture on the monitor!

Mockingbird in foreground and brown thrasher background

Another picture cropped to better show the brown thrasher

Northern mockingbird is a year-round resident here in southern Illinois. The brown thrasher returns early March and migrates south in October. Both usually nest in our yard every year. The “songs” of both are impersonations of other bird songs. Brown thrashers repeat each impersonation twice, and mockingbirds vary the number of times they repeat each call. This makes them easy to identify by their calls, without having to locate them to be sure.

Gray catbirds occasionally nest in the yard too. They impersonate other birds too, but with a softer voice. They also add a rendition of “meow.”

Years ago I was camping at my rural property. The brown thrashers had just returned, and a male was perched on a limb near the road. It sang and sang. You know the whistle a man does when calling his dog? Well, the brown thrasher impersonated that whistle!

The impersonators heard a lot of “KEITH” calls one summer when my kids were young. Keith was relentlessly hyper.  I expected the brown thrasher to imitate me. It didn’t, but I always chuckled at the thought.

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Therese on June 22, 2012 at 9:19 am

    OMG!!!! I heard a bird calling “Keith” outside my bedroom window earlier this morning!
    Seriously, great pictures, Kathy. So lucky to get both in one shot.

    Reply

  2. BIRD FIGHT!!!!!!! AHHHHHH

    Reply

  3. Haha I’ve never seen such a thing

    Reply

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